Games People Play

Baby Boomers well remember three big games shows that were broadcast in prime time during the 1950 and 1960’s. They were What’s My Line, I’ve Got a Secret and To Tell The Truth. For sure, there were others but these were unique in that they matched up four celebrity panelists against guests whose job it was to keep them finding out something about them. Most often the give-and-take led to embarrassing moments. The panelists would dress up in their finest clothes and try to act dignified and with a sense of propriety. This made any red faced discoveries that much more dramatic and fun to observe.

I’d like to see a new game show called It’s Embarrassing. A contestant would let the viewing audience in on an incident that left them with egg on their face. I’d volunteer to be on the show at least twice. Each one had to do with events that happened around a work situation but not exactly because of it.

The first time was in 1983 when I was doing computer consulting work for a resort hotel in Wisconsin. I had set up their guest booking management system that tracked room occupancy and vacancy as well as did the billing. I had to be there when they first started using it especially since it was the opening of the season. As a promotional gimmick, the hotel management invited several members of the Chicago Bears to be there, too. At one point, I bumped into the public relations lady whom I knew from, shall we say, social circumstances. After exchanging hellos, immediately who should walk by us but Walter Payton. I don’t know why I did, but I thought of myself as in a situation like George Saunders in a 1950’s film noir movie. I didn’t know Payton at all other than watching him on television and figured the pr lady didn’t know him either. Being the good gentleman, I stopped Walter dead in his tracks like a linebacker by putting my hand on his shoulder. He turned to me and smiled figuring I wanted to introduce myself. Instead, I lifted my hand in a gallant gesture and pointed to the public relations lady and introduced Walter to her without even introducing myself. He smiled, looked at her and began to talk. Feeling good about myself, I walked away. Later, I found out that they drove up together in the same car.

The second incident happened a few years later. I had to do some work at a client in a fancy but old building on North Michigan Avenue in the heart of the Boul Mich shopping area. It was directly across the street from the John Hancock Center. This was back in the day when they still had a uniformed elevator operator to take you up and down the floors. Sadly, the building was torn down in the late 1990’s and a newer, fancier, larger but less elegant one put up in its place.

Parking was impossible on the side streets anywhere near the building unless you were willing to run downstairs every two hours to feed the meter. Even then, you would be lucky to find a spot. This left it to paying a stiff penalty to park in an indoor lot a block west of the building. It was self-parking, which is what I preferred and usually required a winding climb up to the fifth or sixth level before an open spot was to be found.

After a long and tiresome visit to the client, I returned to the indoor lot, got into the car and saw that another car beat me to the exit path. It became obvious that this was only because he probably started ten minutes earlier to pull his car out from his spot. This guy was going excruciatingly slow as molasses as we wound our cars down each level. By the third revolution, I was inches from his trunk, honking, blinking my lights, and saying nasty things out loud. Of course, it meant nothing to guy in front of me. He was going to make his point that he owned the road and not yours truly.

Finally, when we got down to the first level, he slammed on the brakes which forced me to do likewise. He got out of the car and I saw that he was a definitely white haired old man. I thought to myself, “great, I picked a fight with a geezer who is now going to get a heart attack because of me.” As he approached my window, I rolled it down and was going to start to apologize as I was afraid he would otherwise drop dead in front of me. His coat was unbuttoned and it was then that I noticed he had on a Priest’s collar.

Yep, I think this is a great idea for a show.. Any producers out there?

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