Every night, my husband and I watch “Wheel of Fortune.” We’ve watched it every night for the past 30-mumblemumble years. Did I mention we have no life? The high definition colors sweep across the TV screen and wiseacre Pat Sajak steps out with Vanna White. Vanna always wears a Bob Mackie-esque dress (think Carol Burnett on her old show) and enters in a flourish to the excited applause of the studio audience.
The category is “Philadelphia” and tonight’s first puzzle is XXXXXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXXXXXX. Before anyone guesses it, my spouse yells out “Declaration of Independence.”
I’m still trying to read the category which is “Name.” My husband’s quick answer ticks me off, and I steam a little bit inside, thinking of some manipulative ways for revenge. Maybe I’ll put a Plastic # 2 bottle in the Glass recycling bin! That’ll teach him!
After the first round and commercials for constipation products, Depends, erectile dysfunction, and incontinence drugs, Pat introduces the contestants. I hate this part.
Hello, Pat, my name is Sadie Sadie Married Lady, and I’m married to my wonderful husband Irving for 13 years and we’re here with our awesome children, Whitney, Sidney, and Kelsey. My hobby is rescuing baby kittens and I work for a large unnamed company that removes lactose from dairy products.
Pat says “Awesome” and Vanna nods with delight.
Now just how freaking cheesy is that? How about a regular contender who is a real person?
Hello, Pat, my name is Betty and I’ve been divorced from my alcoholic, shiftless, lazy husband Norbert for ten years and that sonnovabitch left me with these two worthless children, Norbert Junior and Nora Beth. Neither of them could be here today because they are doing community service for various infractions. I’ve been unemployed for six years from my job at a packing plant and I’m about to lose my under-water house to the bank.
Pat says, “Awesome” and Vanna nods with delight.
The category is now “Before and After” and the display reads XXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXX. Before I can comprehend the spaces for three words, my husband shouts out “Robert Lincoln Logs!”
That is correct, but the on-air contestants take four more minutes, and Sadie Sadie Married Lady wins the Prize Puzzle. She will explore Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois to see Robert Lincoln’s entire ancestral homeland. “This prize package, which includes a week at the Dale, Indiana Super 8, is worth eight thousand, four hundred, and sixty-two dollars,” says Pat and the contestant jumps in joy.
Tonight’s winner is ultimately chosen and taken to the small wheel. Pat introduces her lovely and awesome family. “Who do you have with you tonight?” The camera switches to the audience, where Sadie Sadie Married Lady’s family sits proudly but uncomfortably, so in awe of the glory that is Pat and Vanna.
Now for the big finish. No matter the gender of the contestant, Pat guides him or her from the small wheel to the big board. For a female, he takes her hand. I’ve watched this show hundreds, if not thousands, of times. What female cannot figure out how to go from the small wheel to the big board? It’s not as if the place isn’t well lighted.
Sometimes I fantasize about what I would do if Pat Sajak took my hand, leading me to the big board. My husband believes that my admission that I fantasize about this is enough evidence to lock me up for a mighty long time. I would smack Pat away with one of those giant foam bats (that I just happen to have with me), but who knows?
Are we running out of words and phrases? Lately, the final puzzles are inane. Last week the final puzzle was in the category of “Kitchen” and the answer was “Woks and Pans.” The contestant guessed “Pots and Pans” and the audience applauded wildly, until Pat corrected them. Yeah, woks and pans. I often use that in a sentence as in, “I’m going to China to buy woks and pans.” What the heck?
The final thing that makes me crazy is the idiotic banter between Pat and Vanna at the end of the show. The producers are likely shouting, “Kill some time.” Vanna shows a picture of her children at Vail or St. Thomas, while Pat makes an incredibly snarky comment. You know he is thinking of the 1970s Steve Martin comedy routine, “I get paid for doing this.”