Yay! I won free asparagus for a month! Thank you to all who voted for my roasted prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears recipe on the Mountain View Farmers’ Market Facebook page. My pee will be stanky for a month and I welcome it!

It’s nice to win something again. Back in high school, I’d win swag at least twice a week. How, you ask? I won call-in radio contests. ALL. THE. TIME. It was my stupid human trick: I could dial phone numbers with lightning-fast speed. Plus, my noggin was filled with useless modern rock trivia, and all I did after school was geek out to the radio while I did homework. I was a music nerd and proud of it.

It got to the point where I was blacklisted by San Francisco’s alt-rock station for winning too often. Not a problem – I just started making up aliases and had the station send my prizes to my friends’ homes. After a period of time, I figured it was safe to use my real name again (‘cause who doesn’t like hearing their own name on the radio?), but my favorite DJ recognized my voice and chastised me on air for being a “radio hog.” Did that put a damper on my efforts? HELL TO THE NO! I continued to score craploads of CDs, concert tickets, clothing, and assorted knick-knacks plastered with photos of Robert Smith or Morrissey. I amassed a mini-fortune selling off my prizes at Rasputin and Amoeba Records.

In college, my radio contest obsession started petering out – mostly ‘cause I finally managed to get a life. Still, one of the first things Fitbomb and I did together in college was attend a Too Much Joy concert with tickets I’d won. And I’d still bust out my special party trick on those rare occasions when someone voiced doubt about my super powers: “You want me to prove it? Want tickets to see Weezer? I’ll win ’em for you.” And I did.

(I still have the knack. Even after becoming a mom, I scored tickets to a Beck concert and a Green Day show. Sadly, as new parents, we were too sleep-deprived to enjoy the performances as much as the screamin’ tweens around us.)

Nowadays, my fast fingers are called into action for (occasionally) obtaining coveted restaurant reservations (e.g. The French Laundry, Per Se, Momofuku Ko) and securing appointments at my sons’ pediatrician’s office. But when my fingers fly across the keypad, my brain floods with happy images of scoring yet another copy of Depeche Mode’s “Violator” by answering a trivia question about The The.

Ah…the memories of past glory.

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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