When we left off last week, my name had just been called and I was commanded to "come on down! You're the next contestant on the Price is Right!" I ran down the aisle giving high fives to like the nearest five people. The contestant boxes were a mess and the other contestants were just standing about in the aisle. I had no idea which box was mine. A little embarrassing when watching it on tv, but I finally found my place, and with a huge grin, tried to act like I had done this before.
They wheeled out the items we'd be bidding for: a family pair of snowshoes and, my favorite, joint supplements for all those arthritic joints.
Bob turned to me and ask me to bid. I bid $790. Bob thought I said $700 and I was like, "ok, whatever, I'm not going to correct you on tv." I immediate wished I bid higher. The next dude bid something ridiculously high like $1200. I knew he was off. The next girl then bid even higher, $1400! Stupid. Way too high! Have you ever gone shopping before? Nothing on the opening bid is ever that expensive. So now it was between me and the girl to my immediate left. She was a young, sweet thing, and I hope she never reads this blog, but she was obviously rattled by the pressure of the moment. She turned to the audience for help but the audience was split. Half were telling the girl to bid $701 and the other half (primarily led by my friends) were yelling for her to bid $1401. She couldn’t make up her mind. I knew if she bid $701 she would win and I then would lose. So I leaned towards her and whispered $1401 while pointing upwards with my thumb in the “bid higher” sign. When you watch the actual episode, the mic actually picks up my whisper. You can totally hear me conning this girl. Then she did it. I couldn’t believe it. She bid $1401. I immediately began jumping up and down. I knew I had won. And Bob then told me I won.
I still don’t know how I feel about this. Did I cheat but manipulating this girl in a moment of weakness or was just competing in a girl where rules are recreated every episode? Was I competing in a game or did I sacrifice my integrity? Is this an unstated but nevertheless social understood code of conduct to public game shows? Or are public game shows no-holds barred, Survivor-esque, survivor of the fittest, slug fests where the winner wins by any means necessary? I definitely played by the second definition but I'm afraid my competition and likewise all of America played by the first definition. But if that was the case, where was the huge public backlash and why wasn't I interviewed on Good Morning America?
Back to the show. As I was walking up on stage, I was waiting for a producer to disqualify me and for someone else to get called down as a contestant. But nothing ever happened. I was the winner. I had won. Well, at least the first prize.
Bob shook my hand and I got to see Bob Barker up close. I remember thinking that they really caked his make up on. He told me, “Brant, you strike me as a person with a lot of energy. I bet you could use a new car!” The curtains parted and their was a brand new Dodge Neon. I know I know. Big whoopedoo. But hey, it was a new car and I was a poor student and I could win it on the Price is Right. So suck on that any nay-saying party-poopers!
I don’t know the name of the game I played. There was a board with pairs of numbers on it. I was given the middle number in the price of the car and I was asked to select the first two and last two numbers of the car. I guessed “16” and got it wrong. I guessed “17” and got it right! I then picked two more numbers and got them both wrong. I was down to my last guess. And then I looked out into the audience and there she was. My guardian angel appeared in the crowd. A woman dressed all in red, including a huge red jacket and a wide-brimmed hat. We made eye-contact and she whispered to me in a voice that I could hear in my soul despite the raucous shouting of the crowd, “Pick ‘45.’” I did. She was right and I won a new car.
Let me just say, taxes are brutal any time you win something. After the show finished, all the winning contestants were directed into a small room where an accountant explained how prizes could be claimed. You can elect right then and there to forfeit your winnings. Again, taxes are brutal and I know many people do just that. I elected to receive most of the stuff. I figured I would sell it everything and pocket whatever was left over.
Overall, the experience was fabulous although, I’ll admit, a bit stressful at times. Again, taxes are brutal. But, hey, I was on the Price is Right and how many people can say that? Well, according to my calculations, about forty-two thousand people. Oh and that's me holding the Bob Barker glossy!