*I came, I lived, I won
“I never win anything,” said Linda Oblack as she took a ticket stub entering her in a draw for a freshly baked persimmon pudding. I’d started mixing the pulp (from my own tree) with eggs and butter at 6 that morning in the hope that a door prize would increase attendance at a talk I was scheduled to give.
Frankly, I was surprised that Linda had turned up. She’d probably heard the same talk twice before. The Saturday Farmers’ Market was in full swing, complete with Morris Dancers for May Day. What was she doing in a windowless conference room at City Hall?
“I just came for a chance to win the pudding.”
Well, it’s nice to have an audience, whatever the reason for each member’s presence.
So here’s the thing. Linda’s my editor at the Indiana University Press. But more than that, she’s also the subject of Chapter 7 in A Home of Her Own. When you read her story, you may find it as hard as I do to believe her claim that she never wins anything.
I guess it all depends on how you define winning. Must “winning” involve no effort at all on the part of the winner—other than merely showing up? Or can winning be understood as doing well—that is, succeeding, or prevailing against the innumerable potential catastrophes that await each of us at any given moment—as in the working-class English expression for “How are you?”: “Aya winnin’?”
Linda Oblack has certainly come out on top in the latter sense.
As I write, Linda’s on the verge of retiring—yes, retiring—as in, “with benefits.” What?! In this day and age?
Not only that. She has a part-time job waiting for her, following a month of mandatory non–employment…just to make sure she officially retires and is not faking it.
Please, someone, tell me how I can qualify for this “non-winning” plan!
And to top it all off, Linda actually did take home the persimmon pudding.