I have always been a rule follower.
I never went to detention.
I stick to the time I’m given when telling a story at a show.
I prefer following recipes to winging it.
It may sound boring, but I like having some parameters and sticking to them.
That’s why I came up with this challenge. I like goals, structure and order (although, at times, my apartment would tell you otherwise.)
The truth is when you’re straight-laced like that, you don’t take as many risks and, some would argue, you don’t have as much fun.
I know this is true because I’ve broken the rules a few times in my life and have never felt more alive.
The greatest example of that is when I risked everything while driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
I was at a quarterly sales meeting in Chantilly, Virginia where my boss, Russ, was coming down on all of the Hotdoggers for not meeting our media goals. A huge part of our job was garnering media attention in the different cities we visited. We’d usually deliver Meals on Wheels, visit children’s hospitals, take kids to the prom in the Wienermobile and the like. It was buns of fun!
Russ was not someone you messed with. He was a former Army sergeant who, for some reason, breathed like Darth Vader. I desperately wanted to get back in his good graces and pull off a huge media event that would shatter the Hotdogger media records of all time.
I wracked my brain trying to come up with an epic idea and then I saw a headline for a story happening 20 minutes away that was making waves all around the world. I had my idea, but it could easily get me fired.
At Hot Dog High (our training program), we were told to never take the Wienermobile to unsavory locations like a bar or a strip club. Oscar Mayer wanted to maintain their wholesome image despite the fact that we were driving around in a 23-foot-long phallic symbol.
I told Jason what I wanted to do and he was shocked at how rebellious I was because we were taking a huge risk. We were putting everything on the line. We were going to take the Wienermobile to the Lorena Bobbitt trial.
If you’re unfamiliar with Lorena Bobbitt, she is best known for chopping off her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt’s, penis in the middle of the night and throwing it into a field after he raped her. Incredibly scandalous and a huge story at the time.
We arrived at the courthouse to find a sea of reporters, camerapeople and satellite trucks from CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Telemundo and more. I was ecstatic, but Jason was not. He turned to me and said the unthinkable, “I think we should go back.”
I was pissed. I was not backing down. I couldn’t believe that the guy who would moon people out of the Wienermobile was scared of this. I told him to stop being such a wienie and next thing I knew, he hit the gas and we drove straight into the media circus.
It was like the final scene of “Thelma & Louise.” We were honking, waving and playing the wiener jingle out the P.A. and I was in Hot Dog Heaven.
CNN put their camera right in my face asking what I was doing at the Bobbitt trial.
“Just passing through,” I said coyly. “We’ve never been to Manassas before.”
We did more interviews, a few laps around the courthouse and I posed for pictures on the bun. I felt so completely alive.
As we drove away, I screamed with excitement. I couldn’t believe I had just done the ballsiest thing in my life. I was so proud of myself and felt so liberated.
Within minutes, the story went out on the AP wire and as soon as we got to the hotel, it was all over the news. I was on top of the world until the phone rang. It was Russ.
“Robin! You know this is not the kind of media attention we want or need,” he bellowed.
“I know, but it’s not like we wrote on the side of it. ‘Hey, Lorena. Take a stab at this!’” I shot back.
That was not the response he was looking for. He was furious and while we did garner millions of media impressions, luckily, we got to keep our jobs.
So what does this have to do with my self-care challenge?
In addition to daily self-care, I’ve also sworn off TV for the month. However, I decided to break my own rule (and my rule of “Sleeping 9 to 5”) to watch a 2-hour special on ABC entitled “The Bobbitts.” It seemed fitting to break the rules to watch the source of one of the biggest rules I’ve ever broken.
To be fair, I wanted to record it, but my DVR wasn’t working. Sure I could have watched it online, but I didn’t want to wait.
Was it worth it? No. I fell asleep an hour into it and missed the end.
Was taking the Wienermobile to the Lorena Bobbitt worth it? Hell, yeah! I felt so unbelievably alive, free and on top of the world. And even though John Wayne Bobbitt reattached his member, I was the one with the biggest balls that day.