Thursday, October 18, 2007

stretching the limits of failure

Earlier this week I smugly snubbed National Fail Miserable Day. I read Tiff's tribute to her second annual day of failure and thought - I don't have time to fail today. I worked late into the night on NFMD and was quite satisfied with what I accomplished in the day and failed to properly take advantage of the one day a year when failure is not only encouraged but endorsed and embraced.

But here is a little life lesson I would like to pass along to each of you, dear readers. Do not skoff at the one day a year that is set aside for underachievment, an innocent day whose sole purpose is to allow for guilt-free eating, lounging around in pjs into the late afternoon and overall slovenly ineptitude, a day whose mantra is "half-ass is good enough"; because ultimately, call it Murphy's law or karma or whatever, if you do not embrace failure once in a while, it will creep up and surprise you in all the wrong places at all the wrong times when half-ass really doesn't cut it.

I think failure is gearing up to knock me down a peg or two (or four five) tomorrow. And why not, tomorrow is the banquet I managed to fail at last year. And until I looked up that post just now I forgot the very title of my summary of that night was failure. So why not honor the anniversary and fail, fail again?

I learned some from my mistakes last year inasmuch as I am not running the silent auction and I did not try to beg, borrow and steal children's art to sell for exorbitant $5 prices. But, unfortunately, I did not learn enough as I am once again participating. No, not participating, this year I am co-chair of the banquet! I won't go into all of the excuses and finger-pointing of why tomorrow's banquet is going to flop. Instead I will just explain how I believe it will fail - sheer numbers.

Tonight my co-chair and I did the seating chart. We were originally booked for 150 people but dropped that number to 140 a couple of days ago because the numbers weren't where we hoped they would be. Yesterday I panicked, purchased a table and emailed everyone I know to try and fill it. After a couple of days of begging and pleading with friends I have a full table. The trouble is two people who comitted to purchasing and filling tables informed us today that they do not have people to fill those tables. That means 20 people we were counting on two days ago when we were worried about attendance have vanished! Tonight as we checked and double checked our numbers and tried shifting people around at tables to make it look like more by dropping 10 person tables to 8, we realized we can't make 86 people look like 140. So we hit the phones, email and text messaging and gave tickets away. We even gave a whole table away. And we still aren't anywhere near 140 people. The seats are $85 a piece and even though we are giving them away, we cannot fill the seats.

The banquet raises money for scholarships for high school kids in the area who are starting college next year. The scholarships range between $2,000 to $5,000 and most of these kids really need the money. We have kids from Harlem and Chinatown and difficult backgrounds for whom every dollar counts in allowing them to get to and stay in college. Yet we are giving tickets away which means no funds raised.

If you are in New York or near New York City tomorrow, please, please, please come enjoy a nice dinner at the Marriott and help some kids go to college. Hopefully we can avoid a failed banquet by getting to at least 130 people . . .


michele said...

i'd love to come, but i have a prior commitment to heat up the deep fat fryer. plus i'm not really close to new york.

Beck said...

I'm so far away from New York City. And I'm poor. But otherwise, I'd be there.

Beck said...

I'm so far away from New York City. And I'm poor. But otherwise, I'd be there.

tiff said...

Aggravating, yet funny. So sorry it's flopping....again. If I was anywhere near, I'd be there for sure. Thanks for celebrating NFMD, although next time try not to make underprivileged kids suffer for it. :) Just teasing. Good luck and if all else fails, just enjoy all the extra food!

Here's to failure!

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