It's good to be the Agbunag.

OK, to start with, I just read this:

HONOLULU – A 24-year-old woman, on her first trip to Las Vegas, is worrying less about the nation's economy. That's because Jessica Agbunag won $2.4 million on Wednesday at a Wheel of Fortune slot machine at the California Hotel and Casino.

Agbunag, a baby sitter who graduated high school in 2002, was in Las Vegas with her boyfriend and family in remembrance of her grandmother's birthday. Her grandmother was a frequent visitor to Las Vegas who loved slot machines.

The Wheel of Fortune machines were good to Agbunag.

She twice won much smaller amounts earlier this week at the same casino.

But on Wednesday, she inserted $16 into a Mega-Jackpot machine and it hit big. She said she plans to pay off a car and give some money to relatives.

Well, at least now she has the money to buy herself a new last name. WTF.

At any rate, this is never me. I have the absolute worst luck in any sort of game of chance. I buy lottery tickets sometimes, and I think the last time I bought one, I didn't pick a single number correctly. Not one.

I can't say I never win though. I did win something once. When I was a kid, I decided that I was going to enter every contest I could find. Every sweepstakes, every radio giveaway, everything that required sending a proof of purchase or a 3x5 card with my name on it. I drove my mother nuts. I think I probably spent about $200 bucks in postage over a single summer.

Then the big day arrived. The UPS truck pulled up outside our house, and the driver wheeled a giant box up to the door, and it had my name on it. By that time, I had entered so many contests, I had no idea which one had finally paid off. I figured a box that size could only be the grand prize, or maybe even a 1st or second prize. I wasn't picky. I had finally won something. I hauled the box into the kitchen, and I couldn't believe how heavy it was. This was going to be good. I could feel it. I unstrapped the box, and opened it up to reveal.....

4 cases of canned giant black olives. Pitted. I thought my mother was going to piss herself she was laughing so hard. I didn't think it was funny, and I was disappointed for weeks. And of course, every night my mother would ask me if I wanted any olives with dinner.

Lastly, since I don't have anything else ready to go at the moment, I'll share this with you all. My friend is a woodworker, and a while back he got careless and ran his thumb through a table saw. Luckily (?) he did it length-wise and not across, so no digits got flung across the room into the wall or anything. But it was pretty gruesome just the same. He sent me a picture of his thumb after they stitched it back up, and he wanted me to make a sign for his shop, so he would always remember to be careful. Originally we had talked about his thumb in one of those red circles with the line through it, but the more I got thinking about it, the more I thought a poster would do the trick.

Here's what I came up with:

Sorry for that picture. I know it's relatively disgusting. I think I'm going to hang one in my own shop. Because I sorta like my toes.


  1. Hahaha! If the threat of a digit transplant doesn't do the job I don't know what will.
    I never win anything either. At least you got olives, i've only ever got a coupon. It wasn't even a good coupon.

  2. Ouch, man!

    I've been around power tools all my life (dad was a contractor), and the table saw is just about the only one that really scares the shite out of me. Every time I turn it on, I start sweating a little. That blade doesn't give a damn what it cuts, be it wood or flesh. And it won't stop just because you cry out in pain.

    My best to your friend!


  3. I never won any of those contests either. I think it's a good learning experience for kids. You never win in life, and even when you think you have, you really haven't. ;D

    By the way, that's a great picture! I too should keep it in the shop!


  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. You buddy needs one of these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esnQwVZOrUU

  6. Funny poster! My toes are really long, and my mother has always said that if I ever lose a finger, I have plenty of spares on my feet.

  7. whenever i read one of your childhood stories, i think we would've been BFFs if in the same neighborhood. i was the same way with the random contests. i once won a fire extinguisher. another time i won free tickets to a highschool basketball game. otherwise, i won my parents a whole bunch of phonecalls during dinner from solicitors, which is why they made me quit signing up.

  8. The money ain'ta worth nuthin if you don't get that last name changed

  9. Upstate Broad9:34 PM

    About that thumb/toe thing: EWWWWW! Not the grossest pic I've ever seen online, but I could definitely have lived without seeing that.

    Last, I'm SO glad I had just used the facility before I read your blog, or your mother wouldn't have been the only one! And just assume your luck is yet come. From the time I was 4 until I was about 14, I won something from practically every contest I entered. Here I sit 30+ years later, and I don't believe I've won a durned thing since. So maybe you have something to look forward to.

  10. I won $1000.00 on a radio show. Just speed dialed it and there was the DJ telling me I'd won. I was at work, so I couldn't yell and scream and act crazy for them. They retaliated by saying my name incorrectly for the next few days.

    And then the IRS took a cut of the grand......

  11. still....better than olives


  13. Yowzers! That must have REALLY hurt! Good conversation point at a party though!

  14. On the upside, I bet you don't have to buy olives for Thanksgiving this year!

    My brother list the tips of two of his fingers to a table saw. The tried to reattach the tip of his middle finger and it looked like a hideous mushroom. He called it his muffin top, and was known for years after as the Muffin Man.

  15. Did you donate the olives to a food bank? I bet they would be pretty excited.

    I "won" a cruise once, but by the time I paid the port taxes (not included in the prize) and the plane ticket to FL to catch the boat, I couldn't afford to cash in on it.

  16. Your mom cracks me up. I have a pinky that looked just like that from a childhood accident. Ouch!

  17. You're a very funny guy Mr Virgil . I have a friend who had to have the toe replacing the thumb thing done [those table saws are spiteful !]. Amazing how the toe adapts to its new job as the opposable digit . Very cool . Very ugly picture though . :}

  18. Actually, having worked around the construction industry, I can tell you that they show pictures every bit this bad and worse to crews to scare them into safe work habits. Also, if you want to really make your spoof of those idiotic motivational posters accurate, this site will get you there.

  19. Mr. Virgil,

    You have won a great sense of humor which you are good enough to share with us all. I wish I was half as witty as you.

    Ryan is correct, construction safety people love to scare the shit out of us all. When ever I forget to bring my lunch I just read a couple "saftey updates."

  20. every time i turn on the chop saw or table saw, i give my fingers one last good look. i'm not the most careful guy, and my time will come.

  21. If you like that...check out

    My last name is Doubt, so there's some good gift items for family members there.

    Even their invoicing is one of despair. Letting you know there is no guarantee, because quite honestly, they don't care. :)

    A demotivation!

  22. kristina12:55 PM


    I think that covers everything (insert sarcasm where required...)

  23. your tale of anticipation of your prize reminded me of the leg lamp scene from A Christmas Story.

    great story telling, as usual!

  24. ooh, that looks like it's gonna leave a mark...

    black olives? man, i thought you were gonna say Turtle Wax. now that woulda been funny... i bet you woulda made a great contestant on "Let's Make a Deal".

  25. My dad nicked a finger in his table saw and because he's from Minnesota he just looked at it, bandaged it up, and went about his business. I need to get that poster for him...

    I too went through the phase of entering every contest and even went so far as to circle the date on the calendar when Reader's Digest or Ed McMahon would show up at my door. Never won a thing. I did win a door prize at a fourth of July party this year though: a year's membership to Curves gym. Because the gift of obligation and sweat is just what everyone wants...

  26. Ha Ha Ha ... I just found your blog through Boondock Ramblings and I'm loving the first page ... can't wait to follow along!

  27. You know, I NEVER got anything back when I saved those boxtops..

    Something about there only being so many entries, and an expiration date of some sort?

    Who knew? I mean, as long as I can find boxes with the same sweepstakes entry, you'd think they'd honor it, don't you?

    LOVE the sign. I'm going to print it out for my shop as well.

    Have a great Turkey Day Johnny!

  28. p jane10:20 AM

    Wow...this right after hubby sharing the gory details of his Safety Training for Drivers video. I always buckle myself and ALL passengers in and know that any unsecured object inside the vehicle becomes a projectile in an accident, but hearing him describe the scene where a dude was decapitated by his unsecured German Shepherd was disturbing.

    I took off the tip of a finger with a mandoline slicer so power tools are off limits ;)

  29. My uncle did that with a table saw, too.

    But his was across, and he had a dado blade fitted at the time.

    Ring finger and pinky on that hand are pretty much gone. Shaking hands with him now is kind of a weird experience.

  30. Our luck is similar. I'm the boy who spent his entire allowance trying to get the best prize from the gumball machine only to run out of quarters when the toy was in sight.

  31. hey tell your buddy about the www.sawstop.com deal - here's a vid on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esnQwVZOrUU this thing is so much fun to watch - the blade just DISAPPEARS. So cool. Would have saved my uncle's fingers too.

  32. That picture makes me think of Walk The Line. And my English teacher, who lost the top part of his finger on his right ring finger.

    I also know someone who cut off one and half fingers with a lawnmower.

    I need to make some more safety-aware friends.

  33. Anonymous7:23 PM

    I can top the olives- I won a years supply of Off insect repellant.