The day after my 18th birthday, my friends and I went to the tri-state fair. We were celebrating life, liberty, and the pursuit of vomiting on the tilt-a-whirl. While most kids my age were legally buying lottery tickets, or smoking, or drinking illegally, I just wanted a corn dog and to pet a pony with three eyes.
It was a veritable wonderland of ferris wheels, cotton candy, crooked carny games, and deep fried squirrel meat.
While walking through the fair, I stumbled upon a booth with a giant yellow banner screaming “WIN A 42” LCD TV! (must be 18 or older to apply)
I realized I was the only 18 year old in the group. My friends were only 17; they were beneath me. I was older. I was wiser. I was going to win a television.
I walked up and began to fill out the form for entry.
Then the questions began to get oddly specific…
Social Security Number:
Mothers Maiden Name:
I was slightly uncomfortable, but I had already made a spectacle of how I was the only adult in the group. Only I could enter the prestigious contest. I couldn’t back down and face the ridicule.
I finished the application and handed it back to the smiling sweaty woman.
“Thank you Mr…. Harris. Your Credit Card will be mailed to you in 4-6 weeks.”
I just applied for a credit card?
My mother warned me about swindlers like her. Smiling in their Best Buy uniforms, teasing you with promises of non-existent televisions, only really there to suck your soul, ruin your credit, and leave you a leach to the world before even graduating high school.
And me? I fell for it…
My night was ruined. My corn dog tasted like shame and regret. The knot in my stomach was not from riding the Kamikaze 4 times in a row, it was from signing my life away to Best Buy. I even won a tiny goldfish, but nothing could ease my pain.
I semi-forgot about the incident until a few weeks later when I got a call. I answered with trepidation.
“Yes Mr. Harris, my named is Ted from Best Buy. Do you remember the promotional activity you signed up for at the fair?”
(no. no. nononononono) “Yes?”
“Well, you’ve won the television.”
“WHAT? GET OUT OF TOWN.”
And 3 years later, I still own said television my friends. It is big, beautiful, high definition, and is almost constantly playing reruns of 3o Rock.
The moral of the story? Go out and experience some events. You never know what good things might happen.