The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
By Mitch Worley, Quill Reporter
August 13, 2008
Those now famous words from the guy that will serve as the best man at my wedding next summer have haunted my sleep since the opening night of festivities at the La Harpe Summerfest.
The night started out fun, walking around with all of my friends that I haven't seen as regularly as I had earlier this summer since I moved to Macomb at the beginning of this month.
For the first time in my life, I saw that there was a ride that required three tickets for just one ride.
At a $1.25 per ticket, riding that ride would get expensive for parents and carnival patrons rather quickly.
The Zero Gravity was quite the attraction to the younger crowd, but obviously was weak sauce in my eyes when comparing it to "Mr. Freeze", "The Beast", and even Adventure Land's "The Dragon".
I had to ride it just to say I did and to keep my streak of 16 consecutive summers of riding a carnival ride in tact.
After passing the "Scrambler" and Skeeball slides, I was harassed by employees of the carnival because I wanted nothing to do with their games because I told them they were all "rigged" and the prizes were cheesy even if I did luck out and win.
As we all made our way toward the Ferris Wheel, a game caught my eye.
Actually, it wasn't the game, it was the prize I could win that quickly pulled $5 from my pocket to give to the man running the game.
My friend, Bryant Fernetti, then said the words I still can't shake after I had bragged about how easy this would be after nailing the practice tosses the man gave me before I paid to play the game.
"Man: you shoulda known it was too good to be true."
I told him, "You're full of it! You're just going to be the one that's jealous after I rock the party and win this Nintendo Wii."
Upon paying the $5 you have only two tosses to get two rubber pitching machine softballs into a cylindrical plastic tote affixed to a piece of ply-wood at a very open obtuse angle that measured at about 130 degrees from the ground plane of the game's base.
I stepped up to the counter, tossing the ball toward the tote as I minded the foul line, and easily made my first toss as it swirled about on the inner lining of the purple cylinder.
The man left the ball inside the tote, something he had not done during my practice tosses, leaving me at an obvious disadvantage.
Since I'm a gamer, I thought I could still win, then shove it in everyone's face.
I felt like the US Hockey team coming into their game against the unbeatable Russians at the Lake Placid Olympics, being the only one that thought I had a chance to win.
My stakes were much higher than Olympic gold, I was doing it for pride, something to gloat about for the rest of my life, and of course the Wii.
Same setup and toss for the next go around:NAILED IT!
As I was ready to claim my prize, the man running the game informed me that it hit the rim of the tote, which resulted in a re-throw (which was legitimately stated during our conversation about the rules and is clearly expressed in black permanent marker around the rim as a reminder).
Although I know his claim was an outright lie, this challenge would make this story all the more mythical.
I would be joining the likes of Achilles and Paul Bunyon, dare I say even the great Odysseus.
I came to take the next throw and suddenly got a case of the "yips", something golfers get on a short putt they over-think and miss.
Of course, I threw the ball a bit too hard and it came right back to me out of the tote.
I went from being the "King of Cannonball" to the court jester of the entire event.
Unfortunately, I would go on to waste another five dollars, not even giving myself a chance after missing the first toss on the next go around.
I lost $10 in less than 27 seconds.
Bryant was right, even if it looks like something is an absolute lock for success, it's not going to be as easy as you thought.
I learned a hard lesson, ate some crow, got made fun of all night (and probably for the rest of my life), but there was one positive that came out of the whole ordeal.
It wasn't my money I lost: it was Melissa's!