Thursday, 30 November 2017

The message

Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
(Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, 1982)
I’m not usually one for prefacing my posts with hip hop lyrics, but in this instance I really couldn’t not.

For starters, you may have noticed the absence of posts these last few weeks. That’s because I haven’t been well. I’m not talking about the stomach bug that my youngest brought home from school (although, to be fair, it wasn’t a net contributor to my mojo), but rather the clashing episodes of exhaustion, stress and depression. I also developed a corn.

I hope you’ll forgive the lack of further detail here. I’m perfectly happy to discuss my mental health (or my corn) with anyone with a vaguely passing interest, but as this blog is supposed to be a permanent record of the positive things in my life, I’d prefer to take that offline. For the sake of this post, however, it's quite sufficient to know that November was rotten.

Generally speaking, I find prize-winning to be a great way to kick-start the endorphins. Of course, the fly in that ointment was that my comping flatlined in October, meaning that the number of treats heading my way could be counted on the fingers of one tennis ball.

On the plus side, however, there was always my corn to contend with.

Two years of wearing the same footwear around the house, day in, day out, had taken its toll. My left foot cried ‘Hold, Enough!’, giving me no option but to re-shoe it.

Normally, that would mean one more chore to add to the list. Happily though, I had in anticipation of such drama stashed away a pair of suede Pumas that I won back in 2015. The promoter? One Grandmaster Flash.

I’ve no idea how I stumbled upon this competition, but it was great and bad in equal measure: great because there weren’t many entrants, but bad because the entry mechanic was highly flawed.

To enter, you had to guess Flash’s five favourite hip hop records. The answers weren’t hard to find - everything you needed to know was in his recent Twitter feed; the problem was that most of the songs weren’t hip hop!

I figured that this wasn’t the time to split hairs, so I fed the promoter the songs listed on Twitter and crossed my fingers. Happily it was the right call.

The story didn’t end there, however. I knew the prize comprised a Puma track-top and trainers; I also knew that (for reasons not shared with me) it was going to take considerably longer than the average four weeks for the prize to arrive. Eventually, all became clear: the prize was not being handled by the Puma marketing team, but rather by Flash’s wardrobe crew! The jacket and shoes arrived in the UK with the rest of his tour gear. I'd won an official (and I’m pretty sure money-can’t-buy) Grandmaster Flash track-top!
My Grandmaster Flash jacket
Flash's back
To add to the craziness, they didn’t courier the prize to me. Rather, they hired a despatch driver to bring it from central London up to Norwich! I can’t imagine how much that cost, but I’m pretty sure it was more than the monetary value of the prize.

Two years have passed since then, and while trying not to lose my head has a more regular position on my to-do list, being physically able to enjoy the fruits of this hobby, even when I’m barely working at it, definitely helps me keep from going under.

How long have you waited for the right moment to appreciate a prize? Let me know in the comments below!