I think I-mona WIN!
That probably needs some context. It was a legal conference, many moons ago. Phillip and I were listening to this speaker talk about, well, to be honest I can’t remember what his actual topic was, assuming he had one. He was this big, spirited man. He looked and sounded like James Earl Jones and had the same presence as a preacher at a Bible Belt revival. While his whole speech was entertaining, I only remember this one little bit. He was talking about handling what we call a “dog case” — one you know at the outset you’re going to lose. Everyone knows you’re going to lose, but then something happens:
“Now, I’ve told everyone from the outset–my legal assistant, my paralegals, my opposing counsel even–I-mona lose this case. I stand no chance to win. I never did. As we work the case up I continue these rants and tell everyone again. Then we start trying the case and somewhere in the middle, I get one little glimmer of hope. Things started going surprisingly in my favor–a witness unexpectedly cracks, some key evidence gets admitted, some … whatever. Little things start to happen and all of a sudden: I get delusional. I think I-mona win! I start walking around the office like I got something. But, what am I? Delusional. You know what happens? I lose. Big time. Just like I thought I was going to, just like I knew I was going to, just like I told everyone I was going to. Don’t let this happen to you my friends. You got a dog case. You gohna lose.
June 5-7, 2015:
After our rousing, rhythmic boat-to-dinghy Patron delivery, Phillip and I continued on our way down the ICW to Pirate’s Cove. We were headed there for the 9th annual Illuminating Autism FUNraiser hosted by High Hopes 4 Autism. We had never been before, but Bottom-Job Brandon had been telling us about it for weeks and encouraging us to sign up. The previous year, the event raised over $70,000 for High Hopes, which is pretty astounding. We learned it’s one big raffle fundraiser (excuse me, FUNraiser – because it totally is!) where they give away a ton of awesome prizes, one of which is a brand new Jeep donated by Chris Myers.com.
It is a two-day event with a silent auction, live music and all sorts of entertainment. The way they do the raffle, though, was really interesting. I had certainly never heard of this. Rather than drawing tickets that are winners, it is a “draw-down.” Meaning, they start with 500 raffle tickets and they draw down to the winner. If your number is not the last to be drawn, no Jeep for you! While they do give away several pretty nifty prizes (an ice chest, a Pirate’s Cove bar tab — who doesn’t want that?, etc.) for say the first ticket drawn, the 100th ticket and the 250th ticket, being the last number, the 500th ticket to be drawn, is what everyone is aiming for.
I’m not a gambling man, or a lucky lady, so Phillip and I pretty much spent the second day, the raffle day, lounged back enjoying all the entertainment, eye candy and people watching the Cove is famous for, hung some hammock chairs and just kicked back and soaked it all in. We only checked the numbers occasionally out of random interest as we made our way back to the bar occasionally for a refill.
Some friends of ours — John and Jody (you better watch out for these two, they’re trouble!) — gave us the inside scoop on the whole “High Hopes” part. “Don’t look to see if your number has been drawn until late in the day,” Jody said. “That way you can maintain ‘high hopes’ that you’re still in the running.”
So, that’s what we did. Phillip and I rarely checked the board. Instead we piddled, drank, partied and even took Brandon’s daughter, Ella’s, hand-made wooden 17′ sloop out for a sail.
Raffle, what raffle? We’re gohna lose. No need to worry about it. We didn’t even care that a little squall came through. Rain, what rain? We’ve got foulies. No need to worry about it.
It was a nice, easy day until we finally made our way, late in the afternoon, back to the bar for a refill and back to the board where we were sure we’d see our numbers drawn. I had to rub my eyes and look again. I couldn’t believe it. My number–lucky number 80–was still standing strong. I was one of the final TEN!
That’s when it happened.
I got delusional.
When they get down to the Final Ten at the draw-down, we learned that’s when things get real fun. They line the Final Ten up on bar stools in front of everyone and spend the last hour of the FUNraiser drawing down the final ten to see who wins the Jeep. But, there is some mad scheming that goes on during this time. Pirate’s Cove regulars had told us in years past some of the Final Ten folks will start auctioning off their tickets to the crowd. I mean, they’ve got 10-1 odds for winning a $25,000 Jeep. That’s worthy of some gambling. We had heard some offers got as high as $3k, $5k even $9k in the past. You see what I mean? Delusional. We were sick with it. They lined us up, I took my stool and started spending my daydream raffle dollars. I-mona WIN!
I had Elvis next to me (that’s got to be good luck) and my buddy Jody sitting down the way in proxy for a friend who was also in the Final Ten.
This cool cat, Tom, was the MC.
He was phenomenal. Okay, anyone who can pull off tails and a bowtie paired with shorts and flip-flops is phenomenal in my book, but he had such personality. He was smooth but saucy and took total control of the crowd.
[Bro-Lo, check it out. An “Alchies shot!”]
Tom got the crowd gathered and appropriately riled up while his striking lady-friend, Christy, got the top tenners seated and settled. They were FUNraiser masterminds.
My temporarily-appointed financial adviser giving me some advice:
Then the fun began. Before they even drew the first ticket off, Tom had the crowd shouting and heckling. “$1,000” someone shouted from the back, offering to buy one of our top ten seats. I glanced at Phillip but he had conceded all authority to me (dumb move), but no one thinks they’re going to be drawn first. I’ve made it this far, surely I’ve got some luck pushing me along, you tell yourself. Surely I won’t be the first to be drawn (although someone’s gotta be). But, it’s just too much fun sitting up there, being a part of the Final Ten. I held fast. Tom made me feel good about it. “That’s cheeap for a Jeeep!” he hollered. “Draw her down!”
Now, let’s recall. What was I?
You can’t catch me. I’m number eight-tee!
I lost. Big time.
“Number 80!” they said as they drew my number first from the bin. Dag-nabbit. First to be nixed from the Final Ten.
But, c’est la vie. If I hadn’t gotten delusional, I would have never even believed I could have won in the first place. I should’ve jumped on that grand, though … I blame my financial adviser (you know who you are John : ), and Tom. I blame him, too. And, Phillip. Might as well blame everybody for my failed delusion.
But, there was still the matter of watching the rest of the final nine duke it out. Jody was sitting in for a friend, Billy, who was reportedly on his way. She kept joking that he was stopping in at the church to pray!
Billy soon got nixed, too, though. After he was gone, the bids for the tickets started to increase as more numbers were drawn. Tom was certainly helping to up the anty, by scolding those who bid low with his same, shameful sentiment, “That’s cheeap for a Jeeep!”
One guy, and you had to feel sorry for him on this, offered to buy one of the final four seats for $3,800. I mean, it’s not a terribly risky bet. You’ve got a one in four shot of winning a $25k Jeep. But, before his rear even warmed the seat, his number was called, and he was out. That’s got to sting. I didn’t feel so bad about the $1,000 I’d turned down after that.
This guy hung in there till the very end. He was sitting proxy as well for his “Ma” on the other end of the line who actually held the No. 232 ticket.
Ma was sharp, too, always making the right call, sticking to her guns. After a few back-and-forths, Tom the MC would just look at this guy and ask “What’s Ma gonna do?” The guy would wait for Ma to decide and announce it. When he and one other guy were the last two tickets standing, Ma made the bold move to buy the other guy out for a smooth $9,000 — a small price to pay, really, for a guaranteed win. I’m telling you, Ma knew her stuff. But, the other ticket-holder held fast. He must have been delusional, too, because he lost as well. Big time. No nine grand, no Jeep, no nothing. Ma took the cake.
But, it was all in good fun and all for a good cause. I’m not sure how much they raised at the 9th annual FUNraiser, but I know the initial reports were it was more than the previous year’s $70,000, which is awesome. I highly recommend the event next year for any local cruisers in the area. Let me just warn you, keep high hopes for the autism research only, not the raffle.
Don’t let delusion happen to you!
Thanks as always, to the many patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.