Wheel of Fortune

August 11, 1993

...you may have about it. Vanna was fine, far away most of the time. Pat was his usual sometimes-annoying/sometimes-actually-quite-funny self.

I was relatively unnervous. I was very excited, however, and eager to give it a spin. Literally. The presence of a few friends in the audience kept me loose as I waited for my show to start. I couldn't talk to them, but I made some eye-contact once I got up on stage and we were waiting for the taping to start.

As I sized up my possible competitors, I felt confident that I could do quite well against any of them. Any of them, that is, except one. His name was Ben. I knew he was the best player there that day (besides me) and even expressed that sentiment to one of the players. "Of everyone here today," I said, "the person I really would be afraid to go up against is Ben." My listener agreed that he seemed very intelligent, composed, loose, and also his sister had been on a number of years ago and won nothing, so the family was due.

Alas, there I sat, knowing I would be on the next show against the winner of the previous show and one other waiting contestant. As all 12 of them drew numbers from a hat, I sat and waited. Finally they all revealed their picks. And there sat Ben, with the winning number, a big smile on his face, perhaps aware somewhere deep down inside that I would fall to his power.

It was a long, hard-fought battle. neither one of us was able to pull away after three puzzles, and so it all came down to the final "Before and After" phrase. This last puzzle was all mine. I made a couple of good guesses. I knew the 2nd and 4th (of 4) words, so I was planning on filling them in. I had my big prizes in front of me. Everything was going swimmingly until...

The running-out-of-time buzzer sounded, thus necessitating the speed-up round, in which everyone gets to guess one letter and then try to solve it. I guessed a letter; it was in the puzzle. I could not solve it. The player to my left guessed a letter; it was in the puzzle. She could not solve it. I , however,now did know it, but standing between me and a very large victory was Ben.

Ben guessed a letter; it was in the puzzle. But he did not know the puzzle. He stood there silent, staring, fishing for ideas, wondering what to do. He knew the first three words, but not the fourth and final word. Time was ticking away. he continued to look at the board, silent. I paused to reflect on my triumph. What would my prizes be worth? How would I do in the bonus round? Who would I play against on the next show? But my visions were interrupted by Ben, who, though he still did not know the fourth word in the puzzle, had decided to say...

The guy who won did solve the final puzzle and pulled just ahead of me when he solved it. I have since heard that he went on to win 3 straight episodes (the max), so I was just one of many victims.

Still under construction...

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