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Excellence Going Onward

When I can't find a picture to match the column,
I post a picture of Audrey Hepburn.

This was written last year, in honor of the 300th "Batteries Not Included" column being published. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the 300th Batteries Not Included column; an achievement that I am most proud of, and one that warrants some recognition. It seems everyone has an award show or ceremony today, so that is why I am pleased to announce my new award: The Andrew W. Ross Award for Excellence Going Onward. My goal with this award is to establish an achievement for those who have set the bar high in their particular field. The trend setters, the news makers, those who work hard, but are humble and stay in the background. I'm also pleased to announce that the first recipient of The Andrew W. Ross Award for Excellence Going Onward is none other than that modern day Hemingway, Mr. Andy Ross.

The ceremony for the first annual EGO award took place recently, I rented a convention center for the grand affair. Organizing the ceremony was a difficult task, this being the first year for my EGO award, there was no established template for the award or the style of the event. The first thing to do was to send out a press release and get everyone excited and interested in covering the event. I also had to send out invitations to notable people. The first round of invitations went to my family and good friends, the 2nd round went to some of the more heavy hitters in our modern world, the first two on that list were Bono and Bill Clinton.

I had a menu tasting, worked hard with the staff to make sure the food went off with out a hitch. I had to have posters made, more press releases—I even rented a small office to handle the ins and outs of the ceremony. It was a very busy time, I gave interviews, told the press that I would emcee the event personally. Much to my surprise, none of the information I gave out was given much coverage—I'm still not sure why. As we got closer to the date of the ceremony, I realized that I had actually spent the entire budget on the marketing, venue, and food for the event. This meant that the first ever EGO award, would have to be represented by a plush toy of the red bird from Angry Birds—it was budget friendly.

Planning the event was getting to be quite the undertaking, I knew I couldn't keep going at it alone, so I hired an assistant. I found myself a spunky college girl named Nikki, she seemed perfect for the job, and she also told me it would be perfect for her business major. Nikki's main job was keeping everything coordinated with the convention center that had been rented out for the event. About a week after the invitations had been sent off, Nikki came into the office and told me there was a problem. It seems the convention center requires a certain set number of attendees before they fully give the OK. And since Bono was in Africa and Bill Clinton doesn't know who I am, they canceled on us and gave us back the deposit.

Out went another press release, announcing that due to such dynamic interest in the first ever EGO award, we would be moving the ceremony to a reception room at the Best Western. The return of the deposit and change in venue meant that we had a little bit extra to spend on promotional materials for the event. I had a series of T-shirts made that said “Have you seen my EGO?” The Best Western folk asked us for a head count—sadly only about ten people had responded that they would be coming—the BW required at least 200. We got our deposit back.

The next morning at the office, Nikki and I began brainstorming for where we could move the event to. I also began to notice that most of the phone calls were beginning to dry up, at this point we at least had a solid head count for who would be coming to the ceremony—twenty people. The interest the press had in the event was drying up too. I think the final nail in the coffin came when I sent out a release telling everyone that we had now moved the event to a church fellowship hall.

There was no more press releases, and we moved out of the office and into my basement. A post card was sent out to each of the attendees, to inform them of the change, and all but five of them responded back that they wouldn't be coming. Who was coming? My dear friends: Tommy, his wife Jessica, their daughter Bailee, our friend Casey, and Nikki. The church didn't want to waste their electricity on a party of six, so they asked us to find another venue. We did, and the first ever ceremony for The Andrew W. Ross Award for Excellence Going Onward took place at a Waffle House.

There we sat, the five us crowded into the booth. That's right, five of us, Nikki had to pick up her boyfriend at the airport. I sat there, stuffed Angry Bird beside me, and was wondering if I should even bother. “Well, what do you think?” I asked Tommy, and he told me “Not sure, still debating if I want them scattered and covered.” “I want a dark waffle” Casey said. “You think the press will show up?” I asked, Tommy smiled and said “You don't need any press. I've got my iPhone, we can just tweet the whole thing!”

 The EGO Award Ceremony turned into a night of laughs and overloading on hash browns, I think I had more fun than if the big shindig I had in my mind had actually happened. Still, this is the 300th column, I am proud of that—and amazed. Thank you for reading it, the ones that came before, and the ones that will follow. It's a lot of words gang, maybe soon I'll get around to sticking most of them in a book—some of them never need to be seen by human eyes ever again.

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