Thursday, July 10, 2008

How I won the lottery (but lost the ticket!)

How many times in our lives have we come to the cusp of golden opportunity only to blow it with some stupid unforgivable mistake? Don't feel bad because you're not alone. I confess I should be an authority on the topic, and one of these days, I just might write a book on how to lose sure-win situations.

Let me tell you an example. One time, right after college, during the height of the hunt for my very first job, I received a telegram (those were the days when advanced communication only existed in James Bond movies) from a printing company in desperate need of a fresh-graduate account executive.

The night before the interview, I couldn't get myself to sleep, as my brain, pumped up by pure adrenaline rush, kept playing a mental picture of what's to happen the following day. I just keep seeing myself breezing past the written examination and eventually passing the interview without a sweat. I was all fired up and raring to break a leg.

Well, I did score well in the written examination (it was indeed a breeze, just as I envisioned it would be the whole night) But just when my premonitions the night before were slowly unfolding into a self-fulfilling prophecy disaster struck without warning. We were sent out for lunch after the written exam, and instructed to return for the interview precisely at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. I couldn't help rewarding myself with a heavy meal, afterall, I deserve it for a job well done, or rather, almost done. The problem was, the lack of sleep, combined with the unbelievable stress, and the big meal triggered bombastic rumblings in my stomach.

I wouldn't have to elaborate on the scenes that followed except to say that I might have broken the world record for the fasttest sprint to make it to the nearest rest room where I practically spent the next three hours going in and out of there while my entire digestive tract transformed into a burning armory, blowing up in resounding sporadic explosions. By the time, I was through with the bombardment, everyone has gone home. I had seen my golden opportunity flushed down the toilet bowl.

And what about that day when I fell asleep during a movie and woke up at already past closing time and everyone had gone home, including my date who dumped me after that? Hey, I'm reserving that for another blog.

I am sharing these secrets at great risk of embarrassment because this is how we are constantly reminded that we are only human, and the follies that we make allow us to survive life's cruel jokes with good natured-humor, even when the joke is on us.

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