Here’s how it works: Ricola has a “mystery cougher” touring around the country, coughing wherever he or she goes. If you offer the mystery cougher a Ricola to alleviate his or her scratchy throat, you win! The Mystery Cougher will offer you 50 envelopes to choose from containing checks ranging from $1,000 to $1,000,000.
The brilliance of this is manifold. First, it would be HILARIOUS to see someone rushing through a crowded subway station or a restaurant offering everyone who coughed a Ricola. What are the chances that someone gets beat up doing this? 10:1? 5:1? Hilarious. Second, I want TWO people in the same place rushing around offering everyone a Ricola, shoving each other out of the way to be the first one to offer the lozenge. Third, I want to see someone run up to a Spanish person who just coughed and offer them a Ricola, only to have the Spanish person make a gesture that they don’t understand and have the person FLIP OUT screaming, “How do you say, ‘Would you like a Ricola?’ in Spanish. HOW DO YOU SAY IT!” My head is spinning over this.
I heard on the radio this morning that the Mystery Cougher was in New York City today, so I signed up at the website. Then I read the official rules and the Frequently Asked Questions, which included the following gems:
I offered a Ricola to a person coughing but did not win.
You need to offer a Ricola to the official Ricola Mystery Cougher. If you offered someone a Ricola and they weren't the official Ricola Mystery Cougher you can still feel good that you did something nice.
What if I give the Mystery Cougher a Ricola at the same time as someone else?
It will be up to our official judges to determine who the first person to offer the Mystery Cougher a Ricola cough drop was. See the official rules for more details.
Fourth, I want to see two people offer a Ricola to a the Mystery Cougher at the same time and then have an official judge jump out of his hiding place and declare the proper winner. Seriously, I’m giddy over this.
UPDATE: I just received my first official clue by email:
This week, you could catch the Mystery Cougher reading a book at the library. Does he like a good mystery, or is she inspired by something a little more romantic?
A library? This is the best place to send someone to cough all day? Unbelievable . . .
But what’s even more unbelievable is that had I not woken up at just the right second to my clock radio this morning, I wouldn’t have heard a single word about this promotion. I can only assume that the majority of the people across the country didn’t hear about it, meaning that there is some poor person sitting in a library all day today coughing his brains out while the people around him think to themselves, “I wish this asshole would get a fucking Ricola or something.”