I didn’t have to hear the commercial or see the ad to know it was back. A total stranger let me know. ‘Tis the season.
“Hey, could you win that contest? I just saw that ad,” a man I’ve never seen before said to me last weekend as we met by chance in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. He laughed and smiled and was visibly proud of his joke, which at first I didn’t understand. It must have shown on my face.
“The contest? Come on, you remember!” he said again and then a woman I assume to be his wife showed up behind him and told him to leave me alone. “That’s not nice,” she said to him, then offered her hand for a shake and said she remembers the column, too, that I wrote nearly 10 years ago about the contest.
The Big Buck Contest.
Only, my then-6-year-old daughter thought it was something else.
“Mommy, you could win that contest,” she said as we drove through town listening to the radio. A normal, pre-Christmas afternoon. The guy dressed as a cow was dancing in front of the steak house on Dawson Road.
“What contest?” I asedk and looked back at her in the backseat.
“The one on the radio,” she said and then smiled that precious angelic smile. That’s when I turned up the radio, just in time to hear it — an ad for a Big Buck Contest. Whoever gets the biggest deer wins.
“But I don’t hunt, baby,” I told her. She didn’t understand. I could tell by the look on her little face. That’s when she said it ... innocent and pure ...
“But your butt’s big enough, mommy,” she said. “Really, you could win.”
She wasn’t laughing, just smiling. A sweet, little smile. She meant it as a compliment ... I think.
“Thank you, sweetie,” I said. “But that’s a contest for a big buck, not a big butt.”
She thought about it.
“Like a dollar?” she asked.
“No, like a deer,” I explained. “A big daddy deer with big antlers.”
She looked disappointed, but recovered. Famously.
“Well, maybe they’ll have a big butt contest and you can win,” she said and pointed out the window. “Hey, there’s that dancing cow man!”
And now, nearly 10 years later, I am reminded by a strange man in the grocery store. And his wife, who was perfectly lovely. I shook her hand and laughed at myself. “I’d forgotten about that one!” I said and they both laughed. The things kids say ...
“Our 4-year-old daughter told Santa yesterday that she wants tall boobs like her mama’s,” the lady said and her husband bent over laughing. “Tall boobs?” I repeated.
“Boots,” she said. “She meant tall boots. But you should have seen the look I got from Santa!” I was a little worried her husband might wet his pants, he was laughing so hard.
“Really, do you have to be so loud?” she asked, giving him a look. He quieted down and took a box of Frosted Mini Wheats off the shelf and pus it in their buggy.
“That’s really funny,” I told her, not able to keep from laughing a little, myself. She smiled.
“Boobs and butts are always funny,” the man said and we both just looked at him.
“That’s not nice,” the woman said and hit him on the back of the head, then they both said good-bye and went on their way down the cereal aisle. But not so far away that I couldn’t hear her next words.
“Boobs and butts are always funny? I can’t believe you said that!” And with that she hit him on the back of the head again.
Big bucks and tall boots. ‘Tis the season.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.