If you were a kid who spent a lot of time faking illness to get out of school in the 1980’s, you became intimate with the wonderful world of daytime TV game shows. Steve and I spent so much time watching “The Price Is Right” that we could name the price of Rice A Roni or a Ford Fiesta with Asperger’s speed.
We were convinced if we ever got the opportunity to visit CBS Television city, we’d not only handily win the Showcase finale, but would become best friends with Bob Barker and open a pet sanctuary together.
But I digress.
Last night, I got home relatively early and found Luca watching TV in our room. Rather than make a big stink about watching screens during the week (they had clearly broken Diana), I promised if he turned off cartoons we’d play a game show at dinner.
Luca shouted, “Yes!” and then after a beat, “What’s a game show?”
“Well. It’s a TV show. And it has a game.”
That was enough for him. After a few minutes of the boys pushing around salad on their plates, I cleared my throat and announced, “It’s time for everybody’s favorite game show: Do You Know Your Numbers and Letters! With your host, Daaaaaaaaaad Hamann!”
The other occupants of the table looked on in stunned silence. I asked our announcer, who was also me, to call our first contestant. Luca was genuinely surprised to hear his name called.
Elijah was angry he didn’t get called, but I told him his job was Game Show Assistant and he’d keep score. I also gave Diana the job of Game Show Assistant because “Barker’s Beauty” felt a little sexist.
I asked Luca to tell the audience a little about himself.
“My name is Luca and I like video games and my dad is funny.”
The game itself was fairly simple. Round 1? Name letters from a stack of flashcards. Three strikes and you’re out, but that never came into play since he’s known his letter for at least 2 weeks.
Round 2 was numbers. Also easy for the most part. The only drama came when a number over 10 was pulled. He’s not too sharp on those. I ended up pocketing a 15 and an 18 to move things along.
Round 3 was the Lightening Round. I rapidly plowed through numbers and letters, but the score got away from me and Luca was in danger of strike three when the dreaded number 19 came up.
Eli’s face lit up. The prospect of his brother failing was just too delicious.
In a moment that rivaled when Michael Larson cracked the code on “Press Your Luck,” Luca blurted out, “Nineteen?”
Imaginary balloons fell from the ceiling and imaginary stage lights flickered off and on as I howled with excitement.
The show ended as all game shows do, with Diana handing out five dollar bills from her wallet.