Sometimes you have to put everything in your life into perspective.
And essentially, that's what ended up happening last night. Reinforced by a third person, Ryan West, who graciously joined my wife and me on the "Street Academy" team, it was time to kick ass and take names at the $2,000 Elbo Room Trivia Tournament finals.
Did I know when John F. Kennedy was born? 1917. Yeps.
Did I know what city hosted the coldest outdoor Super Bowl (non-dome)? Super Bowl 6 in New Orleans. Yep.
Did I know why the 1968 Academy Awards were postponed? For the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. Uh Huh!
Essentially with one question to go, I was in the lead with 166 points, but the other seven teams were anywhere from 90 to 140 points, so there really was no way to throw in a safe bet.
The final question - geography.
In what corner of Wyoming is the capital city of Cheyenne? Northeast, Northwest, Southeast or Southwest?
For $2,000 they're going to end the game on a multiple choice question?
I had no freakin' clue where Cheyenne was in Wyoming. I said Southwest.
The host announced the first five teams to answer as Southeast. I knew I was fucked.
Then he announced Street Academy saying Southwest. There were cheers and taunts. That confirmed I was fucked.
I had the lead and blew it. Cheyenne is in the southeast corner of Wyoming, and that $2,000 floated away from me and landed in the pockets of Woo Hoo A Go Go.
Yeah, it stung like a kick to the gut. I had the lead and lost it all on one question. So what do you do? You do what I did. You shake the hand of one of the teammates of Woo Hoo, you congratulate them, and you pay your bill and go home. It's not like I had the $2,000 spent already (guess I'll have to wait a few more years for that Nikon D700... sniff...)
However, on the way home, I happened to notice something on my street. Mind you, we recently had another nasty snowstorm, and the City of Albany was under snow emergency rules (24 hours park on the even-numbered side of the street so the snowplows can clear the odd side of the street; then 24 hours later park on the odd side of the street, etc.). This woman was trying to get into her driveway, which was coated in ice AND was on an incline. And her van's tires were not snow tires or all-weather tires, and they looked about as bald as a pre-commercial Cy Sperling.
I parked my car (found one spot on the odd side of the street, which was where we were supposed to park in the second snow emergency) and offered assistance. I and three other Good Samaritans tried to get the van up the incline, but it was no use. The driveway was too slippery, and the van couldn't get any traction.
Just then I remembered something. I ran to my house (three doors away) and came back with the Home Depot bucket of ice-melt that I use for my walkway and driveway. I poured the ice-melt all over my neighbor's driveway, and as I poured it on the ice and frost, I could hear one of her kids comment, "It's crackling," meaning the instant melting properties of the ice-melt were actually working.
Even if it didn't dissolve the driveway ice in 15 seconds or less, it did allow for the van to gain enough traction so that the Good Samaritans and I were able to get her up the incline and, eventually, to the level part of her driveway so that she could park her van safely.
Yeah, I didn't win the $2,000. And I'm probably out $10 in ice melt. But in the end, I don't feel as bad as in previous championships, where I'd lose by one point on a question I should have known. I did my best, I played the game, and if the frickin' capital of frickin' Wyoming was in the frickin' Southwest, where it should have been ... easy, Chuck. Don't elevate the blood pressure.
It did feel much better, though, to help someone, you know, by doing a good deed for the day. Random act of kindness. Granted, I can't buy a Nikon D700 with it, but it does take the sting off a bit.
Besides, there's another $1,000 money Elbo Room tournament starting in a week. And even if I can't get that Nikon with the prize money from that game... it would make a nice down payment.