Service of Surprises

March 28th, 2011

Categories: Luck, Surprises, Words

I’m a control freak but with the exception of surprise parties, I love most of them, which may be why I buy lotto tickets. I just heard that the winner of the $312 million Mega Millions jackpot ticket lives in Albany. Eight people shared the ticket, actually. I had fun dreaming of what a surprise winning a chunk of money like that would be for me and some of the people I know.

I won a drawing for big bucks at Pottery Barn years ago. The amount was enough to buy the most expensive thing at the store or a nice selection of the rest. When the store called me at home on a Saturday morning, I knew it was real-not a friend with a tease–because I hadn’t told a soul that I had dropped my name in a fishbowl on the counter. I also won a big football pool which got the serious enthusiasts furious because it was just luck on my part.

Not all surprises involve money or winning. Here are a few I’ve noticed lately.

parkshotssculpture2**On my walk to work last week I first saw silver and copper-colored life-size sculptures of men sitting on benches, standing or kneeling facing one another or posing alone on 47th Street between First and Second Avenues. There’s no way to tell who the artist is-I’ve looked and asked others who were also snapping pictures. I wonder if parksculpturesmall2the city is paying for these visitors or if the artist is renting the space, using Target’s model of “I’m not telling you who I am.” You may remember the very first Target TV commercials that featured the logo, but never the name, of the then unknown retailer.

**I guess tourists whose cell phones don’t work in the US find the burgeoning phone booths in midtown handy and those whose mobile phone service is sketchy around skyscrapers welcome them as well. They are also handy to display poster adverts. I began to realize that phone booths were back in droves relatively recently. They snuck in or phoneboothssmallI’m distracted as I walk from place to place.  I wonder how long the phones will work.

**There was no looting in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami! I saw a great political cartoon about this and a friend who reads internet news voraciously said that this fact was the talk of the town.

**Brenna Ehrlich reported on the Mashable blog, “OMG, the Oxford English Dictionary Added New Words! We ‘Heart’ It! LOL!.”  What’s officially accepted in our language is often a surprise.

Some people may not like the spontaneity connected with surprises. Do you? I’d love to hear of some new or remarkable ones you’ve observed or benefited from.

4 Responses to “Service of Surprises”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    This is coming from a person in a horrific state of mind: Smashed the eye glasses (trifocals yet) flat, yesterday, and must race to the eye doctor to find a temporary solution, and hopefully not discover blindness is imminent. The great and most welcome surprise will be that it’s not!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Ohhhhh, not a good surprise Lucrezia! I hope your eyes are OK. You didn’t specify whether the glasses were on your face when they got smashed. Please let us know!

  3. Jim Campbell Said:


    On the whole, I’m not fond of surprises because, in my experence, they usually are bad ones.

    However, in an interesting take on the subject, most Wall Street traders (ie: gamblers) prefer volitile markets (ones in which surprises occur) to calm ones. The reason is that, given their experience, market savvy and trading skills, they usually have an edge on the general public, and consequently, can make more money.


  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia reported in an email that the glass part of her trifocals didn’t smash and that her eyes are not injured. Thank goodness!

    Jim, Interesting perspective on surprise: I equate surprises with happy, positive things. The inspiration is well-meaning surrounding surprise birthday parties which, as I note, are not my favorite things. Yet as you and Lucrezia note, and I know but would prefer not to acknowledge, there are too many bad surprises. I guess I’d call these bombshells, shocks and disasters rather than surprises.

Leave a Reply