don’t know what to raffle? we’re here to help

They’re running a raffle at my work right now.  People give money against their fellow employee’s name.  The person with the most money off the draw on their name gets a pie in the face.  They then take the money for the employee recreational fund.  I don’t know how this is legal.  Current workplace behavior laws are at the point it’s against the rules to ask a person what they had for dinner last night because that’s personal business.  But we can hit somebody with a pie?  I wonder what would happen if the person refused?  Would they get held down by multiple people in some type of weird pie based hazing ritual?

I guess they could have raffled a gun?  That’d be really fun.  For, I guess, this is something people actually do.  Lost among the usual recent, and entirely futile, gun violence headlines is this thing I saw where people are upset that a few (as in, more than one) active workplace raffles on the planet involve winning an AR-15.  I don’t know how this is legal either.  In most cases (local gun laws are more complex than trying to follow a Brazilian soap opera) I think the way it’s supposed to work is if you buy an assault rifle it’s for you.  I’m not sure how you buy one, and then raffle it off like it’s a fruit basket.

Whatever.  Both these raffle ideas are terrible.  But don’t worry!  We at TAP are here to help.  Please pay attention as we explain how you can execute the very best of workplace raffles.  Your cooperation, as always, is truly appreciated.  As always, we truly desire to keep liquidation to an absolute minimum.

– Baby Lemur!

What’s the point in raffling a puppy or kitty?  Boring.  Everybody does that.  Step up your game!  Nobody on the planet has ever raffled a baby lemur.  Trailblazing is one of the exciting parts of life.  Live your life to the fullest!  Can you imagine the look on your smiling coworker’s face when they awake at 3am and this little guy is perched on their comforter?  What a moment!  Little dude looks like a serial killer.  I wonder if those eyes glow in the dark.  That’d be awesome.

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– Five Gallon Can of Unleaded Gasoline!

Everybody needs gas for things, cars, lawnmowers, torching the local Kia dealership, tire fire riots against the establishment, and so on.  You rig the bidding by generating a fake news article (it’s easy nowadays, apparently) saying that the Saudi Aramco terminal in Dhahran exploded.  Gas prices are going to triple overnight.  But you, of all workplaces, are prepared as you have this can sitting on the break table.  Be advised, most humans are crazy, so after showing the article you’ll need a security guard to watch the can and escort the winner out of the building.

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– One Ham Sandwich!

Keep raffle costs down to the bare minimum with this most classic of winning lunchtime creations.  What’s that you say?  Nobody will ever bid on a ham sandwich?  Wrong.  This is where you’ll need the support of your boss(es).  Most workplaces are traditionally run by fear, or incompetence, or both.  It’s why Dilbert exists.  All you need is for your superiors to threaten to fire anybody who doesn’t bid on the sandwich.  They’ll be joking (hopefully) but only you and your boss(es) will know that.

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– Battered VHS Copy of E.T.!

Oh man, I haven’t seen this film in two decades.  Remember the heartwarming scene where the FBI guys accidently shoot Elliott and fumble around trying to get the burner gun into Elliott’s little fingers while they erase their body cam footage?  And then E.T. uses his powers to explode all their brains inside their skulls in a grim vengeful rage, calmly saying “Elliott” as he methodically downs each screaming FBI guy one-by-one?  Man, I loved that part as a kid the best.  Oh, and somebody will bid on this tape.  There’s at least one hipster in every office.

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– Toy Car!

It is within our base human nature to be incessantly cruel to one another.  If you doubt me, kindly take a stroll through any Walmart parking lot.  The raffle is openly for a toy car.  But you get the office jerk (most have more than one option) to begin leaking that he heard the boss say the car is a real car.  The enthusiasm will build and somebody will win hoping that it’s true and that their life is about to change.  Instead you mike drop the toy car on them and walk out.  That somebody else is miserable will greatly increase the overall quality of your day.

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– M134 Minigun!

If you can get away with raffling off a rifle why would you set your expectations so low?  Show your employees you have the imagination and determination necessary to exceed even the most ridiculous of standards.  Plus, as the Las Vegas shooting has shown a standard AR-15 isn’t enough anymore.  In order to truly defend yourself you need firepower.  And man, does this baby deliver!  As long as you don’t happen to encounter an alien in a jungle, you’re good to go.

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– Complementary Copy of TV Guide!

The most irrelevant of magazines is a good star of your raffle because it will only highlight how far we’ve come as a human race since the days where its use was actually needed.  Think of it, once you had to use TV Guide to figure out what was on tonight.  Now your television can tell you that electronically.  Granted, mass shootings are 73 times more prevalent, our politicians are insane, giraffes still roam the Earth, and we’re poisoning our oceans (and bloodstreams) with minute particles of plastic, but, but really, your television’s got the guide in it now.  Progress!

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the strange journey of the worst (but just possibly, eventually, the best) Super Bowl viewing ever

The Giant Octopus and Roger Goodell’s Manservant that is the NFL likes to claim the Super Bowl is the biggest game all year.  This is true if you ignore the World Cup final every four years.  It also ignores various one off potential annual events such as a royal wedding, the alien invasion ultimatum beamed from the surface of the Moon, non-existent presidential impeachment proceedings, a cat barking like a dog online, or competitive cheese grating competitions.

So you’d figure the only place the NFL wouldn’t want you to watch the game is on said surface of the Moon.  Otherwise catching your eyeballs is meant to be easy, so that you watch, and they make more money, right?  Nope.  I remain constantly astounded at how traditional media makes it as difficult as possible to watch their product.  If you want to understand why Netflix is eating the souls of traditional television, I give you this tale.

I am abroad for over one year.  I want to watch the Super Bowl.  After extensive research I determine only one local cable television provider is allowed to broadcast the game in this country.  To demonstrate the absurdity of this, I offer you the comparison that say Verizon would be deemed the only cable company in the US allowed to show the game.

I do not possess said cable company.  So my options are to troll a local bar at 4am, which is too much, even for me, or to watch the game online.  Thankfully, NBC Sports is offering and widely promoting that this Super Bowl is special and is going to be streamed online.  Great, done.  I test the NBC link, it works, I go to bed early.

I awake early morning and am ready to watch.  The link doesn’t work, NBC Sports shows a blank screen.  After much frantic research I get to the fine print of the NBC Sports help page where the answer to: “Why doesn’t your fucking player work like you said it would?”  Is answered by: “Oh, by the way, though we don’t say so clearly up front, if you’re not in the US, the player won’t work, thanks, and go fuck yourself.  Signed, NBC.”

So I guess my recourse is to what?  Go get wasted in a local bar and get into a cage fight with an intoxicated Eagles fan who’s throwing batteries at the likewise intoxicated Pats fan down the bar?  Or, that I should purchase this other one singular cable company just to watch this one game?

Does anybody actually do that, switch cable providers just to watch one game?  Is that what they’re angling for?  Because if not, I don’t quite see the benefit to NBC, or the NFL, or to any Giant Octopus organization gained by denying my eyeballs the opportunity to easily watch the game and thus their advertisements.  If this happened to me, it likely happened to millions of others when you consider the NFL wants north of 100 million worldwide to watch this game.  That’s not a minor rounding error in eyeballs.

I thought, for a brief moment, to just go back to bed.  I did not, because I’m a sucker, and because I really, really wanted to catch this game.  It was important.  For you see, even though folks were calling for a Pats blowout, I anticipated a good game.  Also, while I’m abroad, some kind folks are watching my precious, precious doggies.  They live in Jersey.  They are Eagles fans.

I can’t stand the Eagles.  I love my team.  So do my dogs, they told me so before I left.  But my team is out of it.  So when my doggy host family says to me, gee, are you okay if we put Eagles bandanas on your dogs like we do with our dogs?  I essentially have no choice.  I have to go along with it.  They’re awesome people, so sure, go ahead.

And so my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas (oh god, please help me) on during the Eagles’ underdog win over the Falcons.   And so my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas (oh god, please help me) on during the Eagles’ underdog win over the Vikings.  And after going 2-0 with a backup quarterback?  Well, by that point they’ve got it in their heads that my dogs are the key.

As long as the bandanas are on my dogs, my precious, precious doggies (oh god, please help me) the Eagles’ have an underdog win over the Pats.  So I have to catch the game.  Because I think it’ll be good, and because I’m texting the host family and me Ma during the game.  It’s expected, I have to be a part of the experience because my precious, precious doggies are apparently more important than Jason Peters’ ACL.

So what do I do?  I get the game via radio.  I hang out in my flat for three darkened early morning hours and listen to the game via internet radio like it’s 1937.  During this time, I’m texting me Ma and the host family via WhatsApp.  I get bombarded by incessant pictures of my precious, precious doggies wearing Eagles bandanas.  My oldest is smiling widely in most of these pictures, my youngest is apathetic and asleep.  It’s all good, I miss them.

And I follow along via the radio while they have the live broadcast back home.  They see it, I hear it, and we’re texting within seconds of one another with our wows and surprise at what ends up being one of the great Super Bowls of all time.

I get Kevin Harlan to call the game, and he’s quite good.  Then I get Boomer Esiason as the color and he’s constantly reminding the audience why HE would have called the play differently, thus reminding said audience why Boomer is relegated to a radio vice television existence.  They also have Mike Holmgren to do analysis, which was news to me as I thought Holmgren was either (a) dead or (b) in the toll booth business.

It was my worst Super Bowl ever, loser that I am.  I’m in some dank, lifeless, stale flat alone with cheap beer in the early hours of the morning listening to a game on the radio and texting home and my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas on.  It was one of those: “You’ve wasted your fucking life” moments.

Except that it wasn’t.  Halfway across the world I could connect with family, my host family, and my dogs.  I followed the game with the same level of emotion as if I’d seen it on a screen.  When poor, poor Tommy got strip sacked I screamed out loud with giddy joy.  I was there, and in it.  I’m not an Eagles fan, I hate them, but man did I ever want to see the Pats go down.

And I wonder, years down the road, if the bizarre nature of my viewing experience, and all those wonderful texts, and what a great game it was, will in the end be the greatest Super Bowl I’ll ever live through.

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Oh man, was this ever sweet.  Must have been the bandanas.