Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I’ll Take “Dessert Toppings” for $1000 Please

Ten years ago, my office (at that time) got a new intern. As was custom, we took the new fella out for a welcome lunch where it quickly became clear that we were not going to be so happy to welcome him to the team after all. He was rude and insulting to his new coworkers in the sort of way that only an arrogant “I’m 20 and already I know soooo much more about the world than you do” wannabe college grad can be. By the time the dessert cart rolled around I could barely stomach the idea of him ruining another delicious morsel for me. And yet, as he went ahead and ordered the cheesecake anyway, I figured “Eh, if I’m stuck here, let me eat cake” and inquired about the available options. When the waiter said that one of the cakes included a chocolate ganache on top we asked for clarification on the meaning of this funny word, ganache (though, to be honest, I was going to order it without explanation – it was chocolate, and it looked yummy). The waiter defined it and the term “ganache” became a commonly-used phrase in our office.

Several years later I flipped on an episode of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” and who did I see? This very same intern, staring back at me. It was one of those special weeks where you played with a partner, and his was his now-fiancé. I remembered her as the same girl he used to call in Japan on his work phone, racking up obscene phone bills that were charged to the company. Now they were engaged and playing for money for their upcoming wedding. And they won. $100,000 to be exact. And the winning question? Well, the specifics of the wording are a little hazy to me now. But I remember the correct answer. It was “ganache.”

See now, I normally consider myself to be the type of person who can graciously be happy for others without feeling bitter or sorry for myself (not too, too terribly anyway). But, this time, well … I can’t say I felt too pleased for his victory. And now, as I face the giant excel spreadsheet of expenses associated with my own nuptials, I can’t help but feel a certain desire to track down this former intern and demand my cut of his winnings as, clearly, he would have never known that answer were it not for this simple inquiry all those years ago. I mean, come on, he’s no Slumdog Millionaire – he is undeserving and far too lucky – and I want my share!

Or maybe I should take a more healthy approach and focus on winning my own cash. I’m smart, right? No Ken Jennings perhaps. And sure, that computer that kicked Ken Jennings’ butt on “Jeopardy” last week reminded me that I’m not getting an invite into Mensa anytime soon. But, still, I graduated semi-top-ish of my grad school class. That 3.97 GPA has gotta be worth something (and btw, karma, while you’re busy catching up to that jerk intern, why not also take a swing at the one evil professor who dared to give me a mere A-. Thanks). Of course, considering that I work for one major television network and my sister works for another, disqualifying me from applying for anything with prize monies on either of those channels, that really leaves a very small window of prize-based game shows on other networks for me to consider. And while “The Amazing Race” looks right up my ally, if I judge by other couples I’ve seen on that show, I fear that my husband-to-be and I would likely no longer be betrothed by the end of that crazy ordeal. The lotto maybe? Nah, the risk to reward ratio on that seems rather slim. I know – Vegas!

Yes, why didn’t I think of it sooner? The girls and I have planned a trip to Sin City in May. That gives me nearly 3 months to learn how to do something – anything – more than pull down the handle on a penny – or if I’m high rolling, a nickel – slot machine (or, I mean, push that little button on the front of it). Surely 3 months is enough time to read up on craps, watch hours of celebrity poker showdowns on tv and figure out how to count cards Rain Man style (err, scratch that last one. Jail time doesn’t suit me much). This is a brilliant plan, and one that is sure not to fail. Come on baby, mama needs a new pair of shoes … and a dress … and flowers … and a honeymoon … and … and … Shuffle up and deal!

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