Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Chapter Two

Combined with a busy rotation on the vascular surgery service, along with the usual madness that comes with family and Thanksgiving, and the excitement about the upcoming Christmas season, I completely forgot about the "Are You Man Enough?" contest and the ad that I had tore out and placed in my wallet. Until...

One day in early December, I saw a sign on my way home from work that said the jackpot for the multi-state lottery had reached over $100 million. I stopped by a convenience store and asked for $3 worth of tickets. As I was walking out the store, the clerk called out to me, "Hey man, this fell out of your wallet!" I turned back around to pick up a newspaper clipping: the entry form for the contest.

Wow. I couldn't believe I had forgotten about this contest! I put the newspaper clipping in my breast pocket and daydreamed about the essay I would write in order to win this ring for Nathalie and how I would surprise her. I thanked my lucky stars that I had stopped to buy this lottery ticket and that the entry form had fallen out of my wallet. As soon as I got home, I put the newspaper clipping on my desk... and proceeded to forget about it. Again.

Several days later, while paying some bills Sunday morning, I saw the newspaper clipping on my desk. Yikes, I had forgotten about this contest again! Perhaps I wasn't meant to win the ring, that's why I keep forgetting about this thing. My heart sank with a heavy feeling, for with less than 3 weeks until Christmas, I'm sure I missed the entry deadline. I read the rules again, but couldn't find anything that stated a deadline for submission. I looked at the calendar. Did I have time? I began to --

"What are you doing?" came a voice from behind my right shoulder.


I suppressed a scream of surprise and quickly covered up the newspaper clipping. I spun around to see a sleepy Nathalie in her PJ's and bathrobe. "Just paying some bills, baby." I stammered, looking as guilty as a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

"Okay. I'm going to go take a shower."

She hugged me a "good morning" and shuffled off towards the bathroom. After I heard the bathroom door close, I turned back around at my desk. That was close. I don't think she suspected a thing.

I waited for my pulse to slow down. Then I wrote a 25 word essay about my love for Nathalie, placed it in an envelope, and mailed it the next day when I got to work. I had no idea when the entry deadline was, but that wasn't going to stop me from entering the contest.

Ten days before Christmas, I recieved a phonecall at work: "Hi, my name is Karen. I'm the Advertising Supervisor from [omitted] Incorporated. I'm calling to let you know that you've been chosen as one of the ten semi-finalists for the 'Are You Man Enough?' contest. Congratulations! Can you come by to sign some release forms?"