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  • Writer's pictureLydia Lampert

I Survived Tricky Tray: Tickets and Clappers and Beer, Oh My!

Tonight was my first “official” night out amongst tons of people I know. My husband and I went out to support our school’s local PTO Tricky Tray. If you have not ever had the luxury of attending such a festival, let me try to recreate the picture for you.

First of all, every year ours is held in the local fire hall. As you enter, directly across the room, over the vast array of folded tables, you see the bar, which is a somewhat makeshift wood paneled bar, manned by two of the volunteer firefighters. Above your head is a drop ceiling with some old water stains and old light covers that were once clear but now due to age, are dulled and frosted. On the right and left you are greeted by volunteer ladies from the PTO handing out tickets for you to enter into the drawings, and then have more expensive tickets for sale for the higher tier prizes. To the back of the room, fold up tables covered with that cut up table cloth you can get in a 100 yard roll at Party City line the room which are adorned with those old fold up metal chairs upon which your ass is commandeered for the evening as numbers (most times not yours) are called out as winners, and a buffet of food awaits the very end of the room, which is first come first serve, so you can only imagine the scavengers that have fasted all day in preparation.

People come from surrounding towns for this function, like they were giving away a million dollars or something. Doors open at 6pm, but people are already parked and waiting for entry at 5:30, no doubt.  I cannot deny that in my enthusiasm to just get out, I was in line by 5:45, and now I question why! I suppose I really do lack a bit of sanity.

Our friends met us there with the bag of clappers.  You CANNOT, and I repeat, CANNOT, attend this function without your own clappers or you will indeed find yourself in a fight by the end of the night.  The obnoxious clanking of the clappers every time someone wins is comparable to fingernails on a chalk board or even worse, a fart on a wet inner tube.  And the winners just relish in their noise makers. Personally, I think they need to find a better hobby, but I suppose to each, his own.

Tricky Tray 3

I enlighten your life with this story as a Public Service Announcement.  See, as someone who has been cooped up in a hospital for 43 days, then basically has remained reclusive since I have gotten home, this was a big leap.  I thought I was prepared though. I took 2 ½ Xanax 30 minutes before arriving and just waited for it to kick in, which it never did.  The noise level was through the roof and very agitating, and the clappers hadn’t even started banging yet when I arrived.  Just trying find baskets into which to place my raffle tickets was a problem and very overwhelming. My biggest goal was to get my tickets into the baskets, and get back to my seat.  Thankfully, that mission was accomplished quickly, and the night was about to really begin.

There was a list of over 150 baskets to be raffled off. It was 7:00 and I knew damn well that Xanax should have been working at this point but it wasn’t. My knees were bouncing, I was fidgeting and now people were greeting me to tell me how wonderful it was to see me…blah, blah, blah.  All I could think was I needed a shot of something STAT, but I knew that was supposedly a no-no. I called a lifeline from outside and was told one shot was not going to hurt me but most likely just take the edge off.  If you only knew who I had resorted to take advice from you’d cringe, but I trust the person.

Tricky Tray 2

The drum roll began and the announcers took the stage. Don’t get me wrong they are lovely people and do the announcing every year, but the gentleman that does it practically makes out with the microphone and I feel like Charlie Brown in the audience trying to decipher what the fuck the teacher is saying.  First item raffled off, “Werngownaown howmmanod 2881903.” The room was filled with screams of excitement, clappers and horns tooting for what? Pizza and two bowling passes? Seriously people? Here’s $20 bucks for the same thing! Now shut up and sit the hell down!

I needed a cigarette.  Charlie Brown’s teacher kept raffling prizes off and I was in and out for several cigarettes in between. I was trying to have fun. Screw the Xanax as it was not doing a thing. I caved and had one shot of Sambuca and I swear it was my saving grace. I calmed down just enough to enjoy myself.

I even won two baskets I didn’t even know I put tickets into, but that was a nice surprise and by the end of the night, Charlie Brown’s teacher was almost coherent. I know the event is for a wonderful cause, but honestly, if I had to do it all again, I think I would have passed this year.  I’m proud to say I survived, and even convinced my husband to go to the pub next door to the firehouse to listen to a band for a bit after the Tricky Tray. To quote the announcer, “Weroamfneoagh ahoduan faowhtnchgn wpamdpepan, ” which means, “Thank God Tricky Tray happens once a year!” Amen to that, my friend. Now someone please sanitize that microphone!

Tricky Tray
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