Too good to be true

If you think something’s too good to be true, that’s when most people would say something like, you’re right, it is too good to be true. But it might not be. It might just be too good while at the same time being totally true. Like winning the lottery. I’ve never won the lottery, so I can’t actually make a comment based on any sort of real experience, but people win the lottery. Regular people, week after week, jackpot, winning numbers, ten million, fifty million, three hundred and seventy six million dollars that previously had not been in your bank account, and all of the sudden you have to hire wealth management companies, you’re looking to diversify investments. Again, it’s never happened to me, but that right there, it seems like it’s way too good, and totally true.

Like when you’re at a professional sporting event, and you see a camera crew walk in through the closest gate, you’re thinking, holy shit, they’re going to come over this way, somebody in this section probably won something, and they’re going to play it on the Jumbo-Tron, this week’s Home Depot Lucky Slam Dunk Winner, you and a guest just won tickets to a taping of America’s Greatest Home Bathroom Makeovers airing this Sunday.

That would be so awesome, you’ve never won anything at a game before, but just as you’re planning out how you’re going to be able to look straight at the camera while only subtly diverting your eyes now and then to soak up the image of your face on the big screen in the center of the arena, it turns out that you got carried away, that the camera crew was headed this way, but you weren’t the winner, it was the family of four sitting two rows in front of you, that these lucky spectators won a fifty dollar coupon to Outback Steakhouse, and they didn’t even try to look at the camera, they were all staring right up at the screen, smiling, waving, their sideways profiles of pure joy on display for everyone in the arena to see.

That was too good to be true, for you yes, but not for the lucky winners. Or maybe, depending on how you looked at it, I guess fifty dollars isn’t a lot of money, not for four people at Outback Steakhouse, and so it’s like, do you really feel like going out for a bloomin’ onion tonight? Not really, but the kids keep bugging about when you’re going to get to use the coupon, that stupid coupon, all right, I guess it’s Outback tonight.

What about when something’s not good enough, clearly not that great, but also true? Like when you’re at that same sporting event and an usher taps you on the shoulder, he’s like, you’re a lucky winner, go over and meet the camera crew at Gate 32. You run down, you have no idea what to expect, and there’s a little hockey net set up behind the middle row of seats, there’s the camera, some announcer is like, “OK! Let’s give a hand to our lucky contestant! All you have to do is hit these pucks into that net!”

Which should have been simple enough, but when was the last time you held a hockey stick? And this thing isn’t big enough, it’s hard to get a grip. You shoot the first puck and it’s a miss, you hear the entire arena let out a collective sigh of disappointment, are they playing this on the Jumbo-Tron? Two more shots, each one similarly unsuccessful, the audience starts to boo, they’re turning on you. “I could have hit that! You suck!” everybody’s chanting on your way back to the seat.

But the producer felt bad for you, he’s like, “You know what? I’m just going to give you the prize anyway, even though you didn’t hit the net, here you go.” And for a second, you’re spirits are buoyed a little, I could use a fifty dollar gift certificate, that would be a lot for just one, and you’re already starting to lick your lips when the guy hands you a rolled up t-shirt, it’s for the hockey team you’re here to see, but it’s a size XXL, and it’s got a big advertisement on the back, so you’ll never wear it.

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