Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Stakes of Sweeping

I'm supposed to be cleaning or teaching or planning the Thanksgiving meal. Instead, I've been reading posts on Amazon. I don't usually care what other people have to say about what they want or what they didn't like about their purchase.

But today, I read post after post after post. Why?

I wanted to check the karma in the air, of course.

I recently entered the Amazon $100,000 sweepstakes. You might be surprised to know that I am somewhat obsessed with entering such contests. After all, why would a mostly pessimistic person put hope into a little piece of paper, folded and stuffed into a box?


I'm not sure why, but my pessimism positively floats out the door when a sweepstakes or drawing is involved. I honestly and totally expect to enter each and every one I attempt. I've been known to be totally crushed when I didn't.

Life leaves me pessimistic because there isn't a sure bet that something good or bad will happen to you. Bad things can happen day after day, good things can happen day after day. There isn't one person who wins and the rest fail. There isn't one person who fails while the rest win. I have lots of fears about life. Some of them are quite ridiculous (fear of transportation) while others are more shared (losing a loved one). I don't have any idea what each day or week or year will hold. I like to know what is coming next, and there just isn't a way to know if you will get a job promotion (hooray!) or your house will burn (crap!) and the undecided, non-guaranteed things about life give me hives. (Real, honest hives.)

A sweepstakes, however....well...there is ONE WINNER! Someone HAS TO win. There is a prize, of a specified amount, on a specific date. There has to be a selection, and that selection has as much chance of being ME than anyone else. There's no rhyme or reason, no merit or worth, just a prize.

I admit that a prize won without merit is not as satisfying as the other kind. But I'm not winning the merited kind anyways, at least not yet.

So, I enter. I am currently signed up for sums of money, trips to every place imaginable, airplane tickets, a kitchen makeover, Broadway shows, hotel stays, candy baskets, and a Dora birthday party set.

Having had my share of frustration and pain this year, I'm thinking that I'm in pretty good running, in a karma kind of way, to win. You might think that karma or fate has nothing to do with a sweepstakes. It might not, but it's my way of not being too disappointed if I don't win. After all, how can I be upset that Austin and I don't have an all-expenses-paid trip to Scotland when the poor old couple celebrating their 50th anniversary got it instead? They've never left their sleepy little town and now they get to visit the land of their ancestors! Heck, I'm celebrating with them.

If you are wondering, I want to use the $100,000 to buy stuff for my house (well, ok MAYBE a three month vacation through every castle, church and museum in Europe.)

I know what couch I want. I know what bedding my kids want. I know that I need a refrigerator. I know how I want my house to feel and look and smell. Now I just need to pay for it!

I'm mentally deciding what to buy first, what to wait on, what would be too extravagant. What amazing Christmas presents I could buy for my friends! How many debts I could pay off for my family! Oh, I'll do wonderful things with the sweepstakes prize!

I went to Amazon's rules page to check when they'll be notifying me. The contest ends on December 19th, so I've got a few weeks to really shape up my list. But there are so many posts about how people want to spend their $100,000. They don't know it will be mine.

Most people want to pay off their student loans, consumer debt, house, car, etc. They want to go on vacations and buy stuff for their kids. One guy wanted to put a dent in his kidney transplant debt (dang it! he has better sweepstakes karma than I do) and some people want to give to charity groups, cancer research, orphanages and adoptions. sizing up the karma situation, I've decided that of all those who have posted, I'm somewhere in the middle. I want to do more than just buy stuff for myself (plus points) I want to help others (plus points) save for the future (plus) make a new home because my old one burned (plus plus plus) but I also don't have any legitimate needs (minus points) don't plan on giving it all away (minus) and hadn't thought about the most selfless way to spend (minus minus minus).

I'm somewhere in the middle, lower than the kidney guy, higher than the 'phat new tricked out car' lady.

In this season of Thanksgiving, when I'm supposed to be wholly and totally grateful for what I have, I'm desperately hoping to win a $100,000 sweepstakes.

So sue me. You might get a Dora birthday party set.

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