Charlie Sheen and I finally have something in common: we are both WINNING!

I have to say, I believe my version of WINNING is quite possibly better than his; I have yet to upload rambling videos here that reference a rocket ship to the moon where all the warlocks and trolls shall be vindicated, and we will view the bi-polar Earth from afar. I mostly made that up.

No, in my version of WINNING, I took to the radio airwaves in a heated battle over song identification. This morning, when I turned on my car to head to work, I caught Special K from the local 104.1 KRBE radio station playing on a Casio synthesizer in “elevator music style.” He said “if you recognize this song call in!” Now, I definitely recognized the song. Usher’s “OMG” haunted me last summer when I would go on drives around my neighborhood in Houston. At one point, I remember alternating between three stations, and it seemed as if I was stuck in a perpetual groundhog’s day where Usher wanted to “love me down” and I just wanted to file a restraining order. So in the next moment, I was dialing 713-390-KRBE. I am still not sure why.

As I backed out of my parking spot, I got exactly what I expected: a busy signal. I told myself I’d give it one more try and then continue on my drive to work, so I hit redial and waited. And then, instead of a busy tone, it started ringing. At this point, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. The last time I called into a radio station was in 1997, when I was 13, and then it was to request Leeann Rimes’ song, “How Do I Live.” The busy signal had never deterred me; I hit redial a record amount of times, and when three hours later I FINALLY got to request the song, I stayed glued to the radio another four hours waiting for the damn thing to play. Thus, I learned two things: the system was rigged, and I had horrible taste in music.

I believe the phone rang a least ten to fifteen times, or as I would call it, eternity. When I got to the point when I was contemplating hanging up, Special K suddenly answered the phone and said “104.1 KRBE what is your call for?” And my brain decided to show off my intelligent side.

“Uh…well, I um, knew the song?”

“GREAT! So you want to participate in the contest?”

“Sure?” (Contest….??!)

“Ok, when you get on air, remember to be EXTRA excited and happy!! What’s your name and where are you calling from?!”

“Kelly from …downtown?”

“Where downtown?”

“Downtown downtown…uh GREENWAY PLAZA!”

“Awesome! Just hangout on the line and we’ll get to you in a minute.”

And then I almost shit my pants. I was going to be on the radio. Participating in a contest that I didn’t realize I was calling to participate in. One Republic’s “Apologize” was currently playing, followed shortly by Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World.” At this point I seriously considered the ramifications of hanging up, but by the time I was pulling onto Highway 59, I was on one of Houston’s most popular radio stations. Thank God it was spring break and I was in the lightest traffic I’d seen since Christmas.

This is the point where I found out what was happening. Fortunately, I had listened to other people participate in this contest before. Another contestant and I were competing to win a $104 gas card. We had to identify three songs based on Special K’s version of them. The other contestant went first, which is good because I was already mortified that my speaking voice on the radio had been about 10 times as high as what it is normally. She correctly guessed her first song and then it was my turn. I braced myself for public humiliation but suddenly realized I knew the song: La Roux’s “Bulletproof.” One down, two to go.

The next song played for her was Cee Lo Green’s “F You.” Sadly for her, she thought the song was by “Cee Cee Something” so she ended up not getting getting credit. When I identified Katy Perry’s “Firework” within 3 seconds, I took the lead 2-1. Then, she correctly identified Enrique Iglesies’ “I Like It,” so it was my turn for the win, which I secured with Pink’s “Please Don’t Leave Me.” I’m slightly ashamed that I knew all of these songs, but either way, I now get to go pick up $104 dollars from the KRBE studio because of it!

And most importantly, while I may not be as WINNING as Charlie Sheen (depending on your definition of WINNING), at least I know that my bachelors and master’s degrees in music were not in vain. After years of having to identify classical music played for me during exams, I should have known that a few pop songs would not break me.

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