Wednesday, April 23, 2008

almost winning

In a mere hour spent with Steve Walsh, one would most likely hear no less than five carefully recalled quotes or one-liners, all verbatim. Some of these quotes he's adopted into the "daily use" column; for example: "because that's the kind of guy... (knocks on closest hard surface twice) ...I am." One quote he has recently adopted is from Grantland Rice, an early 20th century sports writer: "The tragedy of life is not in losing, but in almost winning."

Today was the third day in a row Steve has taken me to the Missouri State Capitol for a free lunch. Today was the annual "fish-fry day," while yesterday was "rice day." The day before, Steve and I went to cover a media conference in the Senate Lounge. The Missouri Corn Growers Association was holding a conference to feature a new study, which showed that using ethanol infused gasoline (e10) saves drivers money, but all the corn-talk did was make me hungry. After the conference, the media and legislators were invited to partake in a free lunch. We found the room where corn farmers and legislators were fraternizing over lunch; a pocket in the Capitol just around the corner from the rotunda. To the left there were stacks of Panera lunch boxes, separated by the type of sandwich. There was smoked turkey, ham and cheese, and chicken salad. By this time I was excited; I love Panera. I decided to play it safe and go for the chicken salad sandwich. After getting our free sodas (another plus) we sat down to eat. I saw several others pulling food out of their lunch boxes, and I noticed some were pulling out chocolate chip cookies, my favorite cookie, and favorite dessert (possibly); my excitement reached an all-time high. I ransacked my lunch box, chicken salad flying everywhere, and found my cookie. I almost cried. It was one of those cookies you find in a Christmas tin box, the ones that taste like pie crust (as a Corn Growers employee next to me pointed out). Disgruntled, I ate my lunch and still ate the sub-par desert, because I had no other choice. I had thoughts of standing up in front of the legislators and media and asking if anyone wanted to trade, hoping that all of these gentleman had forgotten middle school lunch economy, where food trading is life or death. But, alas, I ate what I was given.

After lunch, I asked Steve, "what was that quote about almost winning?"

As I explained to Steve that day, I would have rather had a shoddy free lunch than what I got. I almost had the perfect lunch: free and delicious. Of course, I would have paid about eight dollars had I ordered my boxed lunch at an actual Panera restaurant. Steve called me ungrateful, but come on! I almost won!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I eat Panera everyday