Click play below if you’d prefer to hear me tell this story, rather than reading it.


I was about 11 or 12 years old at the time, hanging out at home, by myself after school.  It’s how I spent a lot of afternoons as a kid around that age.

I picked up the phone hanging on the wall in the kitchen, stretched its cord as far as I could, and dialed.  931-1945.  This was back before you had to dial an area code.  Just seven short digits between me and whatever underpaid intern would answer the phone at Jam’n 94.5.  If you think about it now, it’s really weird that I’d call that station. They don’t exactly play music that’s to my taste these days.

I had wanted to call in and request a song — who knows what — before turning on the radio.  If you’ve ever called into a radio station to request something (do people even do that anymore?), you know it takes a few hours for them to play something.

When the girl on the other end answered, she said “Jam’n”
“Hi, I wanted to request a song.”
“Sure thing. What do you want to hear?”
<insert whatever song I asked for here.>

The weird thing was that after that happened, she asked for my name, address and phone number.  I was young enough that I didn’t give it any thought.  I just forked over that information to her.

She thanked and congratulated me and I hung up.

I didn’t give it a second thought. I just went about my day, eventually turning on the radio waiting for my song.

About a week later, I got a letter in the mail with a Jam’n 94.5 return address label.  At that age you don’t get much mail, so I ripped it right open to find out what was inside.

It was a letter from the Program Director, congratulating me on being the 7th caller in their “Great Woods Michael Bolton Giveaway”.  Enclosed were two lawn seats to Michael Bolton.  If you’ve ever been to Great Woods (which is now called the Xfinity Center) in Mansfield, you know that winning lawn seats is almost like a punishment, rather than a prize.

I showed them to my mom, still a bit confused how I’d unintentionally been the right caller for a contest I didn’t even know was happening — talk about luck, right?

I don’t remember if it was on a school night, or because it was so far away, but my mom decided that she and my dad would go to the concert, instead of me.  I remember her telling me, matter of factly, that she loved Michael Bolton and that she’d take the tickets.

“You’re too young to go,” I’m sure was said.

So I gave in. I handed over the tickets and let them go.

Now that I think of it, I’m fairly certain the show took place over the summer. Regardless.

Pre-teen me was pretty happy the morning after the concert when my mom woke up.  I asked her how the show was.

Apparently it rained. A lot. All night.

They got soaked, had to sit in a very muddy “lawn” area, and didn’t enjoy the concert all that much.  I don’t remember if she said they even left early, but I think that in some way, that was Karma jumping in and raining on her parade for stealing the tickets that I didn’t mean to win and didn’t want to have.