Friday, June 13, 2008

My Winning Ways

This morning I received a phone call from someone at Radio Station KPIG to inform me that I had won a t-shirt, which I could pick up at the hardware store in my neighborhood.

I vaguely remembered putting my name in a ballot box for something while buying nails, but couldn't have told you what it was.

I promised Flip that he could have the shirt since it would probably be a size Large, and I picked it up. This is what it looks like, dorsal and ventral:

I found that KPIG actually sells this "Classic Pigshirt" for $30.

"Our classic light gray Pigshirt features the " Pure Pork" logo on the back and has the 7-color Pigsticker design on the front. There's no better way to tell the world "I'm a pig- and proud of it"."

Flip suggested we give it to a homeless woman who sits on the sidewalk outside the drug store, but I thought it might hurt her feelings because well, it's a PIG.

I would have preferred to win the Lottery.

The last time I won something was in North Carolina, a long time ago.

My 13-year old daughter and I had left our Vermont home in a chartreuse Plymouth Duster that hated me, pulling a horse trailer with two ponies. Our large dog had just died but we had a gray wolf and a black cat in the car with us. My older daughter and son were in college.

I had never pulled a trailer before, but quickly figured out that backing up required turning the wheel the opposite way from what you would expect. We spent the summer driving down the East coast, "camping" in the car or under the stars after exercising the ponies. I would be surprised if my daughter has ever voluntarily gone camping to this day.

We arranged to be in Chincoteague, Virginia, for the annual pony penning made famous to three generations of children by Marguerite Henry's "Misty" books. We watched the ponies being herded across the channel, swimming from Assateague where in 1620, a Spanish galleon carrying a herd of horses was wrecked on some rocks. The horses swam ashore and have been there ever since.

Assateague also has laughing gulls, whose cry, 'Ah ha ha HAAAAA" sounds like an inebriated man laughing. I think it would be impossible to feel depressed, ever, in a place with such merry birds.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia, 23 miles of alternating tunnel and bridge, is considered one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World. I have always heard that it is among the loveliest scenery in America but I barely saw it because I was catatonic nervous about taking my eyes off the road for even a second as passing semi's constantly moved our car and horse trailer over several feet.

We camped in the Ocala National Forest in Florida for two weeks through three hurricanes, taking shelter during the worst of them in the caretaker's cottage on the Bernadette Castro estate. They kindly allowed us to stable our ponies in their barn.

Eventually, we backtracked to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, where we lived until my daughter graduated from high school and left for college.

My car had died a few days after arriving, and I noticed that the local Toyota dealership was sponsoring a "Hand-a-Thon." Twenty people including me were selected to compete for a new car. We were arranged around the stripped down tan Tercel with stick shift and required to have one hand on it at all times. If we wanted to face the other way, we had to ask a judge to watch us so we would never have both hands on or off the car. There was a 5-minute Port-a-Potty break every four hours around the clock.

One by one the other people dropped out, several of them hallucinating. A factory worker raised both hands to perform his assembly line job because he was disoriented and thought he was at work. His family led him away into the night.

Five and a half days later, I was the last one standing. I had to ask someone to drive the car home for me as I was in no condition to get behind the wheel. I was cautioned not to sleep more than a few hours at a time for a week because I could go into a coma from sleep deprivation, but I was too exhausted to care.

The president of the Toyota agency told a reporter that the contests usually take only a weekend at most, but "these people down here are tough as nails." I didn't tell him that I was a New Yorker, newly relocated to his state from Vermont, because they don't cotton to Yankees. I was afraid he would take away my car.

I always knew that I would win. I surely needed a car more than anybody else in the contest, and I never considered that there could be any other outcome. Also, a psychic had told me that I would win "a house, money, or a car." He had cautioned me that I shouldn't feel as if I got something for nothing, though, because I would work for it.

He was right.

The same psychic also told me that I would die at the age I will be on my next birthday, which is this month. It's considerably younger than I've always planned on, and I have tried for many years to put it out of my mind because I know about self-fulfilling prophesies. Some of his predictions were wrong but because he was right about winning the car, I worry.

On a happier note, I would be delighted to send the pig t-shirt to anyone who would like it. Since there is only one, I propose a contest: If you are interested, write to my email address and tell me why you'd rather be a pig. The deadline is June 24th, which is also my birthday.

"Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a pig?

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
His shoes are a terrible disgrace
He ain't got no manners when he eats his food
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude
But if you don't care a feather or a fig
You may grow up to be a pig."

"Swingin' on a Star" lyrics by Bing Crosby


thailandchani said...

What a strange thing to call a radio station. Weird call letters.

It reminds me of the talk radio station in San Diego called "KGB". They always said "This is KGB .. and we know where you are."

That was a long time ago, in the early 80s. :)

meggie said...

I am not in the market for a Tshirt, but I would bet my daughter would love to give that to her current partner!
Loved your story about the ponies. You are very brave to drive a horse float with no prior knowledge!

Nick said...

Wow, I admire your endurance in the car contest. Staggering. But as you say you were desperate for a new car! Unfortunate the psychic turned out to be right about the car, so now you're worrying about dying. I'm sure you'll be alive and kicking for plenty of years yet! A psychic once told me I would buy a motorbike, have three kids and get rich. That was exactly 0% correct.

Anonymous said...

Much as I like pigs in person (having raised them as a teen), I can't see myself wearing that shirt!

I know I owuld have been one of the first ones out in the contest, caving in to boredom. But good for you for winning the car!

RED MOJO said...

It doesn't surprise me in the least that you won that car! That's about your mental toughness, and your ability to do what is necessary to survive, not the accuracy of a prediction. I think you are going to die, but not for a long time!
But don't tempt fate, stay away from the murderess down the hall!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

KPIG. Oh, man. I don't think I could have come up with that one if I'd tried!

I'm impressed you won the contest. Scared, too -- don't sleep too much or you could slip into a coma? Holy smoke!

Still, it's a cool story you tell. Awesome.

furiousBall said...

well, it's better than KPOO

Tanya Brown said...

Awesome shirt! It's hard to think of any occasion where a shirt like that wouldn't be appropriate.

Great story about winning the car. Actually, I'd bet on a single mother winning a contest like that any day. The need to nurture one's DNA is strong.

Psychics ... I'm reminded of the scene in PeeWee's Big Adventure where the psychic tells him that his bike is in the basement of the Alamo. Need I say more?

I am not Star Jones said...

the photo of north carolina is breathtaking!

I say the psychic had nothing to do with the was your determination and willpower.

and I've retired all my pig related wear after rocking a Piggly Wiggly grocery store shirt for far too long.

The CEO said...

Happy Birthday, and for many, many more happy healthy ones too. I'd bet the psychic got this one wrong too. I can just feel it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It's an AM station. I never listen to it, but if the cloven hoof fits...


Probably more stupidity than bravery, but thanks for the vote of confidence.


Thank you for the reassurance. It actually means a lot.


I like all animals but don't want to wear it either. Surely there is someone out there who would like it, though.


My winnings seems to be taking a steep downturn -- from a car to a pig t-shirt. What's wrong with this picture?


It was a long time ago so I think I'm safe now.

KPIG is a special name for sure.


I wouldn't dream of disputing that. And imagine the t-shirt for KPOO. Or maybe, don't.


Yes, it is. Very.

Can I consider your comment about the appropriateness of the shirt a bid? Oh, please. I want it to go to a good home.


Excuses, excuses. (I no longer have Miss Piggy sneakers either.)


From your lips to God's ear.

Sienna said...

That is incredible, (winning the car), you must have been exhausted...

My Mum always said she would die at 60, (because her Mother died in her sleep at 60).

In her 60th year, she, (my Mum), felt unwell... went to the Doc and ended up having a quadruple heart bypass within 3 weeks.

Mum said to me all she had was a vague bit of indigestion and a little tiredness..

KPIG is funny...I love how they have word played it.

Reversing cars and horsefloats is so...bloody difficult, I'm still having trouble perfecting it.

You did so well.


seventh sister said...

KPIG is an old hippie station in Northern CA. I love it and listen to it on line from time to time. They play an amazing range of music, a lot of it by local musicians, some of whom I consider friends even though I only get to seem them sporadically. Give it a listen and wear the shirt with pride. People in the know will start conversations with you and you may have a great time.

I can't believe you were awake for more than 5 days. They do a contest like that in Longview,Tx and a documentary called Hands on a Hard Body was made about it a few years ago.

seventh sister said...

Here is where you can listen to KPIG

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm glad your mother outlived her own predictions. I would like to live to 100 as long as I am reasonably healthy, both mentally and physically.


Wouldn't you or someone near and dear to you like to have the shirt?

I've never heard of that documentary before. I'll see if I can find it. The contest I won was in Hendersonville, NC, and had definite shades of "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"

On a limb with Claudia said...

What a great story about the car - you are indeed so tough. I know that I could not have done that.

Will you please get that memoir done? I'd love to read it! :)


Happy Birth Month!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Thank you. Actually, it's birthday YEAR. Why settle for only one month or one day?

And I'm pretty sure that YOU can do anything you attempt better than most.

comfortandjoy said...

Heart, You are a force of nature. No psychic prediction gave you anything you got, and no psychic prediction will stop you.

So what if I've turned you into a superhero? Maybe you deserve it.

Josie said...

I haven't had a chance to visit many blogs lately, and there is always something fun going on over here. I'll pass on the T-shirt, but can I put someone else's name in instead? I know someone it would look really good on. *sigh*

The psychic was wrong, by the way. It was your strength and self-sufficiency that won you the car, and that same strength and self-sufficiency is going to help you to live to be 100.

And I'm psychic. :-)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I think I love you. Is that ok?

I have always wanted to be a force to be reckoned with, a dangerous woman. If I can manage to live through the year, it's still possible, no?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Thank you so much. You always give me a boost just when I need it most.

I've been remiss about commenting lately, too, even when I read posts.

You have just become my favorite psychic and I hope you'll come to tea and cake on my 100th birthday.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

P.S. to Josie,

Please do put somebody's name in for the shirt if you have a candidate.

Have shirt. Will mail. :)

comfortandjoy said...


Yes, you can love me. Please, love me. :)

And you already are a force to be reckoned with, a dangerous woman. The words under your words tell me so.

Ian Lidster said...

Damn, I was going to write swinging on a star at the end of my reply, but you beat me to it. Well, we think in similar veins, I have found.
An intriguing story and what an 'adventure', in retrospect at least. I find I rarely believe in prophecies -- but then weird things happen and confound me. Confound it.
I was thinking I could exchange your pig shirt for my Sid Vicious shirt, but I think I'd rather keep it. I am such a nostalic romantic.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

You won a car and a t-shirt... I think it's time you bought a lottery ticket.

Are we having a birthday party for you here?

I hope?

You will not die at this age... you can't, your fan club is big, but not big enough for them to make a movie about your life yet... you still have some notoriety to attain before you go.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

jameil1922 said...

hilarious. this is the 2nd blog contest where i've been almost tempted to try. but alas... i'm trying to get rid of all the other free t-shirts i have. a coma from sleep deprivation???? terrible!! i love driving the bridges and tunnels in th echesapeake bay area!! i went to hampton so i did it a lot!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


The words beneath the words is such a lovely concept. But then, you seem to have the kind of vision that would see into hidden corners of ones soul.


We do think in similar veins, but I'm afraid we part company on Sid Vicious.


Notoriety to attain -- is that like "miles to go before I sleep?"

A virtual birthday party is a delightful idea, but the cake won't be very satisfying.

Of course, if I could win the lottery, I could fly all of you out here for a real one.


It's gorgeous country. I would love to see it again while not transporting dearly-loved large animals in a two-horse trailer.

seventh sister said...

What size is the shirt? I really think you should give the station a listen before you get rid of it. They play awesome stuff. Who knows, you might even talk them into playing osme of Flip'smusic. Wouldn't that be fun?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It would be great! I'll check them out, thanks.

And the shirt is Large.

Los Angelista said...

I used to wear those Misty books out. Loved them. Amazing that you won the car. Five days of hanging on is sheer will and drive in action.

As for the psychic, she cast a pretty wide net with her guesses of what you'd win. Just trust your gut and keep alert to what's going on around you. That's always a good thing to do regardless. The only other thing I'll say that when I was 11 or 12 some friends played with an ouija board and it said I'd get slaughtered when I was 21. This hung over my head for years and when I turned 21, I think it almost came true. I even think I know which night I was supposed to die. I'm convinced I got saved by an angel, no kidding, and then after that night, I didn't feel the burden of that "curse". The thing is, that as much as I think I know it was that night and all that, it could all have been in my mind, the result of years of thinking about it. So we never really know, do we?

Echomouse said...

I wouldn't wear that shirt either.

Hey, there was a movie with Glenn Close and Dermot Mulroney...she did the same as you in the contest to win a car. Did they by any chance make a movie about you?

Also, the psychic...ugh...fluke. I used to be best friends with a psychic. I'm more psychic than she ever was. Some are good but many things change their predictions. I learned a lot about their "techniques" and I would say, don't worry about it. Nobody reputable ever predicts death. Nobody. Truly.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Dearest Hearts,

Virtual birthday cake has no caloric repercussion.


But if you win the lottery, then yes, we will all come celebrate with you, and hallelujah to that; it would be the party of the year!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I read the Misty books, and so did my daughters. It was so exciting to actually be there for the event, and also heartbreaking as mares were separated forever from their colts.

I am also convinced that you were saved by an angel. I can remember that happening in my own life, and I could actually feel giant hands lifting me up and setting me down in a safe place. (And no, I don't do drugs.)

I'm very glad that we're both still here to tell about it.


No movie about me that I know of, and I do not resemble Glenn Close, in case you wondered.

I so appreciate your comment that no authentic psychic ever predicts death. I tend to agree because as you say, circumstances change. I believe that predictions are at best probabilities based on information available at the time. But I really need that hug.


You always have an angle. Virtual cake = no calories, but it's also not very tasty.

I'm doing what I can to win the lottery so all my virtual buddies can come out and play.

Molly said...

So...we're all waiting for that book,Heart! Loved hearing about your crazy travels with daughter and menagerie, and your stamina when it came to winning that car! I certainly hope that psychic wasn't right....we want you around for a long time yet.

As for your current post, having grown up in hide bound Catholic Ireland, I have trouble with the whole thing. I agree that freedom is for everyone. One of my cousins is lesbian---what a shocker---in holy Ireland. But, funnily enough, she's a warm and loving person, and a fiercely protective parent to her two boys. I think, even in Ireland, same sex couples have been quietly living together for ages and no one raised a stink about it.{we had a few spinster ladies who lived together when I was growing up, no big deal.] I think it's the whole sex end of it that freaks us traditionalists out. On a personal level, I try to mind my own business, and would not deny people who have found love with each other the right to live together and comfort each other through Life's "hob-nailed boots episodes!" True love is hard enough to find. Great thought provoking post---as usual.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I doubt that most of my relatives feel as I do about the issue of same-sex marriage. I was always the one described as the black sheep, the different drummer, you get the picture.

The thing is, I really do not want to imagine ANYONE being full-on sexual, gay or straight. While I consider myself a romantic, anything graphic, porno or otherwise, has no appeal.

Certain concepts seem foreign to me, but I would not deny others the right to enjoy them. I have never been attracted in that way to another woman so I don't really understand it, but MY understanding is not important.

Fairness has always motivated me, and on this issue I really believe that nobody should be penalized for their preferences as long as they don't hurt anyone.

Ask me about pedophiles and rapists, though. I think they should all die horribly.

And I really admire your honesty. It's a very thought-provoking issue indeed, and certainly not a simple one to parse. I think that change is always hard for people to assimilate, but as long as those who disapprove also don't hurt anyone, we'll all get through it. (And maybe the wedding industry will make money hand over fist and save the economy.)

Lex said...

What a story!! You are one fascinating woman.

There was no doubt in my mind when you started the car story that you'd be the winner.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


If I hadn't won, I might not have told the story. :<)

Angela said...

Priceless! I don't even know if you could find a shirt like that on ebay! lol! As to psychics, I remember one told me that I would never have children and another who said I'd have twins. Huh. Unless twins are in my immediate future, I got ripped off. ;)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Babs has enough smarts and spirit for two. Maybe she's her own twin.