Friday, April 26, 2013

I Will Beat Your Ass (True Confessions of a Competition Freak)



PREFACE: What follows is a rather long ramble that I will boil down for you in this preface. I am trying to win a contest. In order for this to happen, I need to get about 190 more unique views to THIS VIDEO by Sunday afternoon. (The link doesn’t work on mobile devices.) If I win, I go to London. For those of you with time to kill—the long version is below. It involves cocaine, Jello, Seasonal Affective Disorder, dysfunctional sex, and an inability to throw a game of Scrabble.

From time to time I stop to consider that I never did cocaine in my life, and I am filled with wonder, surprise, and more than a little relief. Consider that the 80s were my heyday and that I began my twenty-year stint as a drunk at age fourteen and that—though rather a late bloomer in the nicotine department—I was a chain smoker for a good period of time, and it really is amazing that I never hopped on the Blow Wagon (unless you count that time in the car with a band, whose name I now forget, the members of which were snorting some cheap shit and I ran my finger across the residue on the mirror and then across my front teeth in an experiment to see if I might numb them. Didn’t work.)

I actually have a theory about why I, an addict if ever there was one, skipped out on being a Snow Bunny. I think, buried deep in the recesses of my alcohol-saturated brain, but in bold enough type that even all the booze couldn’t totally obscure it, was a large sign that said in all caps: 

DO COKE AND DIE.

I really do still believe that if I’d done the stuff it would’ve been the end of me. I saw two distinct ways this might happen. The first: one line of coke would so hyper-exaggerate my pre-existing compulsion to talk rapidly and non-stop in the company of others due to extreme social anxiety that someone would’ve taken me out back and shot me just to get me to shut the fuck up. The second: I would’ve had a contest with myself and/or others to see just how much I could cram up my nose, a competition I would’ve won even if it meant I wouldn’t live to defend my title.

See, I am at heart one of the most competitive people I know. The way I best manage this streak is the same way I manage my unhealthy enthrallment with drinking and smoking— abstinence. However, whilst I have mastered the art (I say this in all humility and with mountains of gratitude) of no longer drinking and smoking, I do still occasionally take the competition bait.

Recent example— last week, Garreth texted me that he had a great idea for me. Garreth’s ideas are actually great much of the time, so I agreed to hear his scheme. He told me that at the sparsely populated Austin Auto Show there was a little contest going on. All I had to do to win a pair of tickets to London plus hotel was go down there, pay seven bucks to get in, sit in a MINI Cooper in front of a green screen and be silly for 30 seconds, and then get all my friends to watch the video.

Initially, I was skeptical. Was this a trick? A national competition beyond any hope of winning? An attempt to garner piles of personal information from my friends?

Garreth, who’d made a video himself and scrutinized the rules, assuaged my anxiety and shot down my conspiracy theories one by one. He showed me the website where some videos had already posted. The frontrunner had fewer than a hundred views, easy enough to beat. His argument was sound. I decided to enter.

Here's the link, bitches.
Hop into the Time Travel Machine now. It’s 1975 in Westville, NJ. School lunches are a brand new concept at Parkview Elementary School. These include little dessert cups of Jello cubes (sadly sans vodka). I’m about seven years away from becoming a vegetarian at this point, so the Jello ingredients do not bother me. In fact, I’m all about the Jello and the open-faced boiled ham and swiss cheese melts. John Logan and I decide to have a Jello competition. I weigh about 63 pounds soaking wet at this point, and John is, relatively, a good bit bigger. Still, I win. I eat Jello and more Jello and more Jello. John doubles over in pain. I do jumping jacks to rub my victory in his green face.

I believe it is also John against whom I run for student council president that same year. He wins and I am handed the consolation prize—Safety Patrol Captain (ironically, I jaywalk and am hit by a car, though at least I am off-duty at the time). I don’t love not winning. I hate it. I become more competitive. I take home a pile of essay contest awards. I am valedictorian of my sixth-grade class (actually, my mom fails to tell me this until I’m about forty, but still…).

And so the competitive streak goes for me. In high school I get all A’s and am student council president. At home I can eat faster than any of my eight siblings, guaranteeing that I will get seconds when it comes to the limited meatball supply. Looking back, I’m certain this is where my drive originates. When you are one of nine you must compete for time, attention, food, clothes, all of it. Step aside or I will EAT YOU UP.

Step back into the Time Travel Machine. Let’s skip ahead now twenty-two years. It is 1998. I am dating a total fucking loser. He, too, is competitive and insecure. Here is how it manifests: We play chess. We play Scrabble. He hates to lose. I also hate to lose, but I have finally met someone who hates to lose more than I do. I learn, early on, that if I beat him (rare, but it happens) he will withhold sex unless I agree to stay up for a post-coital rematch, because he is sure that he can beat me then and he cannot rest until he wins. For my part, I am far too competitive to throw the game.

I don’t enter contests very often anymore. Once in awhile, I get sucked in. Every time a DJ says, “I have a free pair of tickets to give away,” I have to remind myself I get free tickets all the time. I don’t need to call in. But there’s that split second when I think… Must Win.

Last December, when I was in the throes of a major depression and suffering from some PTSD issues, I got nominated to play the role of Mother Ginger in Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker. I hate Christmas. I hate The Nutcracker. I hate leaving the house when I am depressed. And yet… I loved being nominated. And so I was instantly In It to Win It. I bugged the shit out of everyone I know for weeks on end to pick me to play a part I had no true interest in, one that might find me onstage bawling my eyes out. (I did not win, which in itself was a sort of winning.) Because somewhere inside of – though she is fading more and more—remains the girl who wants the prize.

So now here I am. Competition girl has roared awake. Forty hours from now either I win the tickets to London or those harlots in gold lamé do. Can’t let that happen, ladies. Oh no. I WILL EAT YOU UP. I simply must.

Once again folks— Here’s The Link to the Video. Please watch it and pass it on and HELP ME WIN. Thanks!

1 comment:

Holly Schroeder said...

You crack me up. I watched. I hope you win. :)