The Lucky Caller

By Jim Hagarty

I am not much of a contest guy. I don’t buy lottery tickets or any other kind of tickets and I hate casinos. Games of chance leave me cold.

I especially can’t stand the silliness of calling into a radio show, hoping to be the special one who gets through and wins four tickets to the fall fair. And yet, I am aware that there are a lot of people who do just that. Maybe I am too lazy, but I just can’t get myself well organized enough to call the deejay and warble out my answer to the question of the hour.

So, that is my stand on radio contests and nothing will ever change my mind about that.

The other day, I met my neighbour out walking her dog, I was walking mine. We engaged in a little chit chat.

“Well, I just got back from picking up my cheque,” she said, out of the blue. “Oh no,” I immediately thought. “She’s been let go at work and went to get her final pay.” I felt sorry for her. I have been there and have felt the devastation of being tossed onto the trash heap.

“The cheque?” I asked, cautiously, not wanting to be too intrusive.

“Yes, my cheque from the radio contest I won through Radio 104,” she replied. “I was the 104th caller and got through, and then I had to give them a number to see if I got a bullseye. My niece shouted out a number, I gave that number to the radio station and I won.”

Well, I thought, that’s pretty cool. I was glad she was still employed and was sure she could use the couple hundred dollars she probably won.

“Do you mind me asking how much you won?” I said to her, nosily.

“Not at all,” she replied. “I won $10,100.”

Then she prattled on about the contest and how hard it was to be the 104th caller and how she was going to save the money for a special trip.

But I didn’t hear much of that. I was already planning my next day’s activities. Which involved a radio and my phone.

Radio contests are the best.

Mad as a Hatter

By Jim Hagarty

Acid corrodes the vessel in which it is stored, more than the vessel into which it is poured – my Dad on resentment. He laid this on me many years ago during a discussion I was having with him. I have no idea now what information I had given him that prompted him to share this gem with me but my guess is I was harboring a gigantic grudge against someone and he was trying to steer me in a better direction.

Today, thank God, I rarely hang on to anger at anyone else for very long. It’s not that I am trying hard not to resent anyone, it just seems to be happening naturally the older I get. Maybe it’s a time’s running out sort of thing, and there are better things to occupy my mind with. Or my brain is starting to shut down the number of things it can handle.

Whatever the reason, I am grateful to be mostly free of that monkey that got a free ride on my back for many, many years. Still, I do have lots of grumpy old man moments.

I have found most resentments come from unrealistic expectations of others and that it is possible to resent myself – that is called remorse.

That concludes today’s sermon. I shall now pass the basket for your freewill offering.

The More Things Change …

By Jim Hagarty

I am not good at goodbyes and I’m terrible with change. I’m still trying to get over being forced to leave Grade 8. But the only thing that never changes is that everything always changes (that is my own expression, thought up in my own little brain but you are free to use it providing you send me $5 every time you do.)

In any case (the previous bunch of words being the equivalent of putting filler in hamburger), I said all that to say this: I had to say farewell to my family doctor of almost 15 years yesterday and that was hard. I got a little choked up as I left the building and walked to my car.

But this is why I liked him so much.

He knew all us old fogies all too well. His name is Dr. D. Thompson. Guess what the name of the new doctor is. Dr. D. Thompson. Yes, as we shook hands goodbye he said to me that he wanted to make sure he found someone with the same name to take over so it wouldn’t be too much of a shock. Not exactly the same. His name is Douglas and the new guy is David, but close enough.

I thanked him for all he had done for me and my wife and son and daughter and he smiled and said, “You get what you give.”

I’m going to hang onto that as soon as I figure out exactly what he meant.