It seemed that after my mad dash to the contenders' podium, I would be reduced to one of those lip quivering, hand trembling, wide eyed, high fiving; you know, those people you wish you could just slap with a wet two by four. For some reason, however, the angel of lucidity kissed me as I settled into the final slip of Contestant's Row and for the remainder of the program I would somehow remain a picture of competitive calm. The first item was presented for bids. It was a set of golf clubs. Now, I must tell you, both my father and mother play golf. They play a lot of golf. They play every decent day. They play in the winter. They were both watching when this set of clubs hit the screen and I'm sure that the spectre of predestination drifted through the room because they've been trying to make a golfer out of me for over twenty years now. Unfortunately, I missed the bid by a substantial amount. For a moment, all I could think of was how much money my parents have squandered on golf equipment over the years. Good Lord! How could twelve sticks in a bag cost $1,800.00? Oh well; my next bid would surely be higher than my gut feeling. During the commercial, the studio scene was modified for the next game and during the lull, Bob Barker conversed with us at the podium. If you've ever wondered if he ever got tired of the game show scene, I can assure you that he genuinely loves every moment of what he does. It kind of gave me a good feeling about my own artistic continuum; after all, old piano players never die, they just play more funerals. By now, the next item was ready for bids. It was an assortment of gourmet Easter candies and sweets. I had the last bid. The lowest bid was over $550.00. Now, how could some holiday candy be that expensive? For goodness sake, I can completely stuff a hundred ravenous Hallowe'en revelers for less than fifty bucks! I bid one dollar, figuring everyone else had overbid. Was I wrong. That's OK. It's still early, I've got plenty of time. The next item was a free standing alloy fireplace. I'm sure that my wife was bubbling over, thinking of how nice that piece would look and function in our backyard, during those early and late season barbecues. Hell, I've been known to smoke turkeys in the dead of winter. This might just be the prize! Alas! Once again, I grossly underbid. I'm beginning to dread what, "actual retail price", really means. During the following commercial, Bob Barker comments that I have become a permanent fixture on Contestant's Row. I retorted that us old folk just need more time to warm up. Meanwhile, that gnawing pre-panic begins to take hold as I start to wonder if the alarm is going to go off and I'll have to just get up and go back to work. In the first Showcase Showdown, a college student wins his chance at the big prize, later to come. Ironically, I'd met this youngster during our incessant wait to enter the studio. He noticed my affiliation with NOISE/FUNK and he asked if I would provide him with a couple of tickets. I lightheartedly trash talked about how I would personally drive him to the show after I won my new car. How flirting are the fates! In the meantime, my present lack of luck prevailed as I, for the fourth time, failed to procure the winning bid on a hand painted, wooden trunk. At least this time, I overbid. Deep down inside I thought to myself, "I wish I felt half as confident as I look on TV". I was sure that by now, my legion of viewing fans had likely switched over to Montel or even Springer in the hopes that when they tuned back to The Price Is Right I wouldn't be standing in that same hopeless spot with a look that said, "consolation prize winner". Two bids remained. In rolled the next item.
Only heaven could help me now!