Monday, December 17, 2007

Are There Contests?

by Brenda Roger

Sunday morning I heard an NPR radio segment that was about a woman who runs a refuge for fruitcake and fruitcake enthusiasts. She was completely serious. In true NPR fashion, the interviewer questioned her as if they were discussing peace in the Middle East. When questioning the guest about the annual fruitcake event, the interviewer asked, “Are there contests?”

That is my new favorite thing to say. My husband told me that he will be late this evening because he has to go to a “fireside chat.” Instead of asking him what that was I just asked, “Are there contests?” Under normal circumstances, I would have asked him if there is actually a fire.

Perhaps it will take another example to win you over to adopting “are there contests?” as your new favorite thing to say. If I were to invite you to Christmas dinner at my house, you could ask, “Are there contests?” I would tell you, “Yes, yes there are.” There is a contest to see who can be the first person to buy me a sweater set with glitter on it the size of dimes. Too bad for you, my mother-in-law already won that contest last year.

The only thing more fun than asking, “Are there contests?” is thinking up what the contests might be at any given event. The fruitcake event involved throwing the fruitcakes. I suspect it looks something like that log throwing thing they do at the Highland Games, but without the kilts.

You can thank me later for introducing you to this fun game just in time for the holidays when it will be of the most use to you. If you get invited to a New Year’s party and you don’t want to go, just ask, “Are there contests?” and if the answer is no, simply inform the host or hostess that you no longer attend events without contests.

Happy Holidays!


Tory said...

Hmmm. I was just contemplating what would perk up my "Cultural Competence" training today.

Maybe contests? Too late for the fruitcake, I'm afraid. :-(

Gina said...

Brenda - What a wonderful post! I personally think everything would go much better with contests. Maybe that's why I became a lawyer -- a lot of what we do is bloodless combat. I particularly enjoy those contests at showers, where you receive a safety pin for every win and get to proudly wear long strings of safety pins to show your victories. Can that one be adapted to everyday life?

I have to say, though, that fruit cakes get a bad rap. My ex-husband's former bakery* used to make a very dense whole wheat fruit cake that tasted great and had a good mouth feel. I'd rather eat one of those than throw it any day.
* See my March 24, 2007 blog.

Joyce said...

This could even be adapted to police work. A cop pulls you over when you're weaving all over the road and you ask him, "Are there contests?" He, of course, replies, "Sure! You get to blow into this little device here."

I think this could work.

brenda said...

Joyce! You're too funny!

I guess the woman who runs the fruitcake organization is a huge fan of fruitcake and they wrap the ones that they throw in an effort not to waste it, so Gina, you may have your cake and throw it, too.

Nancy said...

Is anyone else intrigued by Tory's "Cultural Competence" workshop?? I think contests are definitely in order! I can imagine just sitting around watching re-runs of Jeopardy! but we could introduce fruitcakes and----well, sooner or later there's going to be liquor involved, right?

My husband's office party is tomorrow night . . . at the polar bear exhibit at the zoo. If there are no contests, I'm gonna make one up.

brenda said...

Nancy! When you check in, ask if there are contests!