Hold your applause, please.
It's 6 pm on Sunday night and the St. Paul's Newman Center up here in Fargo is holding a Mardi Gras party for the weekly student dinner, ushering in Lent the Catholic way. The social hall is packed with people, games, opportunities for prizes, and even a cake walk (which Jane and I both lose at...thrice).
The advertisements show forth some pretty cool rewards for those who earn the most Monopoly money at all of the games. Yes, they actually do use Monopoly money, and each person may collect $300 upon entering.
At the end of the night there will be an auction where people can bid on all the prizes: including a flat screen TV, a Veggie Bus, some fleece blankets, nice rosaries, a JPII statue and other things. You can probably guess that we are set on the TV.
Not only would we benefit from the use of a nice TV in the apartment, but future missionaries to NDSU would as well, seeing as we keep the bigger things (beds, desks, dressers, bookshelves, TV) here year after year. This campaign to win the TV turns into more than just a couple of twenty-somethings hoping for a new flat screen. This becomes the evening's mission!
Early on, Jane suggests we pool our money together so we increase our chances of outbidding the highest bidder. Obviously I like the idea. A few charitable students overhear our plotting, err, discussing, and say they'd love to support our mission and give us all their money--on the spot--since they can't stay until the end anyway.
That's when the idea sprouts in each of our minds: we just need to find charitable people looking to support a great cause and ask them to join our mission of getting this new TV.
We walk around, play some Catholic trivia, go fishing and even complete a ring toss in hopes of increasing our financial status on the evening. While these events help us earn small amounts of money, we really have the best luck finding those few individuals that want to "join the mission." (Yes you, Victoria!)
Eight o'clock rolls around and auction time arrives. Fr. Cheney is in fine form and begins shouting out numbers left and right, encouraging bidders to keep out-bidding the ones before them. I'm pleasantly surprised with the number of students that stick around, but have a feeling that at least a couple of them are hoping for the same thing I'm hoping for.
And I'm a competitive person.
So you know what that means. My palms get a little sweaty, Jane and I exchange nervous giggles awaiting the moment of truth when the TV goes up for auction. We count and recount our money, ending up with a total of $3010. We figure it will definitely be the last item, so we continue strategizing on how to find those who bid on things and don't get them, wondering what they'll end up doing with their money.
Okay, I'll admit it, maybe that's not thanks to our MPD skills, but rather just our cunning and craftiness. Either way, I think by this point both of us have determined that we are not leaving without that bad boy in tow.
A nice young gentleman sits down next to me with a couple hundred dollars, hoping to throw in a few bids for a new bisonCatholic hoodie, conveniently in his size. He quickly learns of our mission and tells us he'd happily give us his $370...after I tell him I'd definitely give him a new hoodie in exchange, at no cost to him (and probably very little to us).
"We really hope we don't need to use your money," I assure him. "But we'll just have to wait and see."
Before long the bidding begins for the TV. My heart races and I have a stack of over 3 G's in Monopoly Ca$h in my hand, knowing that there are other people rooting for us to win as well. The bidding quickly starts at $1000, then skyrockets to $1500. Padre is confused, trying to keep all these crazy bidders at bay. It reaches $2000, then $2300... and people are starting to drop off. Yes! I'm thinking, our odds are good.
It appears that one of the families have pooled their resources together and continue raising the bids, higher and higher. After $2700 another opponent drops off. It raises to $3000. I know it's getting close, there are technically only $10 more in my hand after that bid is thrown out. The bid raises to $3025, which is funny because there were only bills of $10, $20 and $50.
The nice young gentleman who shall remain nameless (you know who you are) continues throwing glances to and fro, wondering if he will need to share his treasure with us. In a last second ditch effort, and without giving him much choice, I look at him and ask, "Are you sure we can use your money?!" He really doesn't have much of a choice, but nods.
"$3300!" I shout. It continues to raise, dollar by dollar. Finally, with a bid of $3370, we are left unmatched and the bid stops.
"I can't believe we just won," I'm thinking to myself. "And we beat a family." Jane and I just stare at each other, high five and laugh pretty hard. All that adrenaline getting worked up really paid off. And I haven't had an outlet for my competitiveness in such a long time--that felt great!
Jane and I collect nameless gentleman's money, all but $10 of it. Unfortunately I don't think that's going to help get the sweatshirt. (Don't worry, we'll be true to our word and get him the sweatshirt tonight.)
We count it at least four times, getting a different number each time. Finally, on the fourth count we get the number we were going for: 3370.
Nobody ended up collecting our money, which I find hilarious. So Jane and I decided to "make it rain" as shown here:
Overall, it was a great night! And if it weren't for Jane and I's expertise in the art of fundraising our salary and truly believing in the mission, this never would've happened!
And it's all been possible thanks to our generous supporters! We couldn't have done it without you. Thank you to everyone who joined in our mission, the movie night will be happening for all those that supported us! And there will be popcorn!
p.s. I wrote this post and then went to Mass. I'm a little hesitant to post this after today's readings, particularly the gospel from Mark. (facepalm)