down by the new wicked rollercoaster was game offering either a tiger or a jet black puma, each about five feet in length. i vowed to the group and to myself that i would that puma. after mark and i met a very nice turkish girl named "makbule" working the old mill lunch counter, i decided that makbule would be an excellent name for a five-foot jet black stuffed puma living on my couch.
as i didn't want to have to carry makbule around the park all day, i waited until near the end to play the game. the premise was simple and possible: toss a quarter onto a 15" glass plate situated atop a glass jar. the glass on glass makes it extremely elastic, easily bouncing a quarter off it. but when each try cost only a quarter, it seemed wiser than throwing a softball into a giant milk jug at a $1 a toss. mark gave me some advice on how to aim and throw: go at a high angle, so that the coin essentially drops directly on to the plate.
i attacked it with all the focus and determination of, well, a puma stalking its prize. i wasn't mindlessly wasting money, but had set aside a certain amount with which i was going to win makbule. i became friends with the lady working the counter, who affirmed that my strategy was the right one, and was soon saying she wanted me to win it as much as i did (probably not quite, but i don't doubt her intentions).
my friends were around me, watching and cheering, groaning with me on the few tosses that were so close. eventually, most of them left to go ride wicked one last time, expecting, as i was, for all of us to meet up afterwards, with me stuffing a giant plush animal into my honda.
the money i had set aside was spent. the lady behind the counter charitably handed me a few of my tossed quarters that had fallen short and landed on the floor. rocio gave me a dollar.
i didn't win makbule.
i was really disappointed. i was so sure i was going to win the puma. i imagined how cool it would be, to drive home with him shoved in my back seat, of people being able to curl up with him at movie night.
this was not the blog post i envisioned writing.
so i don't have a big ol' puma named makbule on my couch. as reality was starting to creep in during my tosses, as i started to wonder if maybe i didn't get a quarter on the plate, if maybe the lady would just give me one anyway, for trying so hard. i really didn't want that. just as much as i wanted the stuffed animal, i wanted the story that came with it. i wanted the achievement that won the prize.
but i'll try again next time. it will be mine.