Part II. The Big Black X

At 6:00 am the sun started to rise and the line started to move. The crowd was agitated and giddy and you could hear salvos of cheers and screams of joy. People abandoned their camping equipment along the side of Fairfax Ave, discarding their possessions for the hopes of winning fabulous new prizes. People were pushing through the crowd and anxiously scurrying by in order to get to their place in the line.
A young college kid ran up to us and screamed “It’s go time, yeah!” and tried to high five me.
I just stared at him like a dick. He was unfazed and moved his high five on down the line. Once we got to the front, I thought the ordeal was over.

We handed them our tickets and they handed us our “entrance number.” I was 246. Beth was 247 of 250. Now we faced six hours of waiting to receive special numbers. We came back at 8:00 am to give them our entrance number (246) and were shuffled to a large patio area that was lined with long benches. It was reminiscent of a cattle corral. At 9:00 we had to line up in our special number. (246) then at 10:00 we had to reline up to receive our seat number. Guess what the number was? Yup, 246. Then at 11:00 we had to line up in order to receive a big ass tag to tape on our special number (246) to our chest. At 11:30 we had to line up in order to show them our Ids to claim our potential fabulous prizes.

Now there was a concession stand nearby that was both my salvation and a source of amplifying the madness. Beth and I began drinking Red Bull like we were hard drinking at a bar.
“It’s time for another round.”
We ended up spending close to 60 dollars in Red Bull. I felt like I had been smoking crack after coming down off of acid.

I realized the corral looked like I was at a geriatric version of The Warriors gang assembly. It seemed like everyone had dressed in coordinated costumes. There were groups ranging from two to twelve, all in matching wacky Bob tee shirts. They were there to represent their Middle America turf and they were not fucking around.

Can yoooou diigggg it?

Yeah, I didn’t take this, I was too cracked out on Red Bull to take photos

In charge of this circus was “Chuck.” Chuck was a CBS page with a dream. A dream he was happy to share as he directed the crowds through the various lineups. You see, Chuck had been to the Price is Right six times and when he finally got his chance to spin the big wheel he got on his knees and asked Bob for a job. He was living his dream every day by wearing the CBS red page coat and taking the microphone to herd other Bob fanatics through the day. Chuck clearly had game show aspirations of his own, he spoke in the most over effected game show voice I had ever heard. Every word was so overly punctuated that I could barley understand him. But the crowd LOVED him. One girl in line at the concession stand turned to me and said “Isn’t Chuck awesome!?!” Before I could think, I hissed at her like a cat and crunched my Red Bull can.

At noon Chuck announced yet another line up. This time to get our nametags taped to us alongside our special number tag. (246) This was the precursor to the interviews that we had to have with the producers to determine who was going to be “called on down.” Chuck announced that if we had already been on the show in the last year and won, or didn’t want to play, to let the page know. I started thinking. “I don’t even know how to play Price is Right, I’ve had two hours of sleep and 6 Red Bulls, and I’m only here to support my wife… so why would I even want to play?”

The page came up to me and wrote out the famous big tag with my name on it and as he was taping it to my chest along with my special number (246) I told him I didn’t want to play.
“…what?” He looked confused.
“I don’t want to play.”
“What do you mean??” Looked really confused.
“I don’t want to play.”
“You need to think about this. There’s no going back.” Looked repulsed.
“Yeah, that’s fine.”
“But I’m going to have to put the big X through your number. Do you understand that?” Looked angry.
“That’s okay.”
“Fine. If you really want to do this.” He leaned over and put a big black X through my special number (246)
“Are you happy?” he snapped and moved down the line with utter disgust on his face.
I sat down amid the low hum of zealots mumbling up and down the bench. “Look, that one has the X.”
“Oh god, honey there’s a big X sitting over there.”

To be continued…

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I light candles to my holy trinity, Marcel Duchamp, Iggy Pop & William Burroughs. Father, Son, Holy Ghost. I pray to Johnny Rotten (Or Malcolm Mclaren, whoever you believe) I pray to Andy Warhol (Or Andy Kauffman, whoever you believe) I flog myself in the name of Arturo the Aqua Boy because in the end, nothing is ever enough.

I light candles to my holy trinity, Marcel Duchamp, Iggy Pop & William Burroughs. Father, Son, Holy Ghost. I pray to Johnny Rotten (Or Malcolm Mclaren, whoever you believe) I pray to Andy Warhol (Or Andy Kauffman, whoever you believe) I flog myself in the name of Arturo the Aqua Boy because in the end, nothing is ever enough.

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