Every once in awhile there crops up an issue that gets you thinking “if it were me how far would I go?” Sometimes it’s something that you do have to confront in some fashion and you have to ask yourself the same question.

What is it most of us want? We want to be happy; almost everything else you can mention ends up with you being happy. I want the same thing; I really want to be happy. Not that I’m in a bad mood right now, but I want to be happier.

What brings us happiness? Money is a good start. Yeah, I know the “lie” that money can’t buy you happiness. Money buys you peace of mind, or at least it does if you’re not one of those people who just can’t be satisfied with anything.

Love brings us happiness. Okay, the cynical part of me is going to say this; money helps in the love and happiness area. Don’t believe me? See how many couples that say they’re in love and get married when they don’t have money will stay happy when they realize that they need that money to sustain themselves. Add children and it’s even more overwhelming.

One more thing that brings us happiness is “stuff.” Ah, now there’s a good one. Truth be told, you don’t need a lot of money to buy stuff, as long as you’re not trying to buy too much stuff or stuff that’s too expensive for you. In my mind, a new Hyundai Santa Fe would make me as happy as a new Bentley, even though they’re thousands of dollars apart. A chocolate cake makes me as happy as having a meal at Ruth Chris Steakhouse but the difference in price is dramatic.

What’s even better than buying stuff? Getting free stuff! That costs no money at all, and often it’s unexpected. Sure, you might expect to get gifts for your birthday or for a holiday, but you don’t always know what gift you’re getting, and thus it’s a happy experience.

It’s also great when you know what you have a chance to get. Many of us play the lottery when we know how much money we have a shot at winning. In New York, we say “a dollar and a dream”. I don’t do it often, but when the money gets really high, I’m there with my “2 dollars” hoping for my dream.

How do you view contests? Well now, here’s a dilemma I’m facing at the moment. We all love winning contests if we get into them; after all, if you don’t want to win why get into it in the first place? If the thing you can win is nice enough, it’s always worth giving it a shot.

I’m in a short story contest at the moment. The story had to be 750 words or less, and I’m competing against 9 other stories. The rules were that we could ask people to vote for us if we’d like, but we all had to decide how fair it was or not.

Well, I thought about how I could ask some people without being all that overt about it. I wrote a few friends and asked them to check out the site, which story was mine, and to compare it to the other stories and if they liked my story to please vote for it. But I did say they could vote for other stories if they wanted to; after all, I wanted to be fair. Truthfully, though I like my story and think I should win, there’s another story there that I think is wonderful, and since you can vote “yes” or “no” on every story, I would always vote for that story as well as mine for the winner.

What else have I done? Well, I did mention it to a few other people, including my blogger group on Facebook. But I didn’t come right out and tell them which story was mine, though I alluded to it, and I also told them they could vote for other stories as well if they chose to do so.

A few days ago I got an email from the person running the contest; actually, all of us in the contest received the email. She was giving us a heads up as to where we might stand after half the money, since the contest runs through the end of the month. She listed the top 3 stories, and it seems I’m not in the top 3. What the hey? One of the stories in the top 3 didn’t even stay within the rules of the contest, as it’s not a complete story but only the beginning of one that’s more than 2,000 words.

So my quandary; how far would I go to try to win a gift, in this case a Kindle, which would be really cool even though I’ve never seen one in person? How much do I really want to win? How far would I go? Would I finally cross the line to selfishness and ask outright for you to go to the site and vote for my story, and tell you which story it is?

Actually, no, but not for the reason you might think. I had a post all set to, through my own version of subterfuge, ask people to go vote for me and help me win this bad boy. I wanted to take a shot; after all, if I wasn’t even in the top 3 I needed help. However, later that evening, I first got an email refunding my $3 entry fee; that was weird. Then I got an email saying that the contest was changing because one of the entrants had cheated. I knew it wasn’t me since I was really far behind so I asked the person running the contest on Twitter what was going on. She said one person was oddly so far ahead of everyone else that she knew it had to be technology that was pumping up the votes. Thus, she decided to cancel the contest as it was and ask 5 judges to make the selections instead. All votes were being thrown out, which meant I now had a legitimate shot once more; yay!!!

Whew; there you go. I didn’t have to think about crossing the boundaries, although it wouldn’t have been crossing them anyway since the rules stated we could do it. My mind is clear; I can go eat cookies now in peace, and hope the judges see my work of “art” in a different light Ah Kindle, you know you want to be here with me. 😉

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