Meeting Otis Wilson and betting on Ebay.

Last night I went to the supermarket to pick up the few things that my last four dollars until payday would allow me to buy. As I came in I heard music playing and noticed a couple of tables set up in the aisle. An average looking African-American man wearing a baseball cap sat behind the first table covered with a blue tablecloth and sporting the name and logo of the Chicago Bears and a popular beer brand. A large wheel sat on the second table which was covered with CDs, DVDs, posters, T-shirts, and other trinkets. Two college age girls stood beside this table, also covered with a blue tablecloth and advertising a popular radio station in the in the area. It wasn’t the first time a radio station broadcasted a live show from this store, and it wasn’t unusual to see some sort of contest or promotion going on, so I didn’t think much of it. My mind was too consumed with the fact that I was flat broke, and that I wouldn’t be able to buy enough food with four dollars to last the next two days until I got paid.

 “Hello, Miss!” the African-American man in the baseball cap cheerfully called out to me. “Would you like a free gift from the Chicago Bears today?” “Well… I’m not really a football fan,” I said. “YOU’RE NOT A BEARS FAN?!” he said indignantly. This was Chicagoland. To not be a Bears fan in Chicagoland was unpatriotic, immoral, and unwise. It wasn’t that I didn’t support the Bears or that I had no pride in “sweet home Chicago.” (I was born and raised in the city before my mom dragged me to this crappy town in the suburbs) I just don’t watch football; it’s boring and I don’t understand it.

“Yes, I like the Bears,” I said as I approached the table, “I just don’t know much about football.” “Do you have any children around you?” the man asked. “Yes,” I said thinking of my students. He pulled a color photograph from a stack of photographs at the corner of the table. It was a picture on a man in a Bears uniform running with a football.  The face of the man in the picture was hidden under the helmet, so I didn’t realize that it was the same man in front of me until he began to sign it. “Are you a Bear?” I asked, showing my ignorance. Without answering, he handed me the picture. I squinted trying to make out the illegible signature. “Your kids will know who it is,” the man said. Then, my eyes scrolled to the bottom of the page to find the name “Otis Wilson” printed in boldface type. “Oh, you’re Otis Wilson!” I said, “I’ve heard of you!” He smiled. When we shook hands his hand locked around mine with a steel grip and I was amazed by the amount of strength he had. I knew that a lot of hard work and committment went into being physically able to play at the level that he does.

I was about to move on when the two girls at the next table asked if I would like to spin the wheel for a prize. “Why not?” I said.  I watched as the wheel went round and all the things that I wanted — CDs and DVDs — spun by before the wheel stopped on “Poster.”  A Russell Crowe poster for the movie The Next Three Days was the best one there, so I took it.

It was a pleasant experience at the grocery store on a Saturday night, and for a time I forgot about my financial woes. But I came back to earth when I got to the cash register and my $4.00 could not pay for the few items I had. So I gave the cashier $4.00 in cash and paid the rest with my debit card, which would deduct the amount from my rent money. I was left with two quarters, one nickel, and three pennies at the bottom of my purse. On the way out I took the two quarters and brought a lottery ticket; I figured I had nothing to lose.

I wondered what I was going to do with that autographed picture and movie poster. I had no use for it. Then I thought why not put this stuff on Ebay? An autograph from Otis Wilson has to be worth something. And that poster might get me a buck or two. In fact, there are a lot of things lying around the house that I can try to sell on Ebay, but even if I don’t it can’t be any more risky than playing the lottery.

By the way… I didn’t win.

  • Author: Miss Daphne

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