network, back when they had this block of television in the afternoon, the name of which eludes me. I do know it was all game shows, however, and I watched it every day, half because the game shows were intrieguing, and half because I was forced to. It was from here where I garnered my respect for the classic 80s game show Press Your Luck. I don't know what did it for me, whether it was the blinking lights or the rudimentary computer graphics of the Whammies when someone lost their money, but it got me hooked on all sorts of game shows ever since.
If you fast forward a decade and change, you'll find me, ever the game show geek, surfing the internet. Someone tells me about auditions for Wheel of Fortune in my hometown of Philadelphia. I sign up, and by July 2004, I'm standing right next to Pat Sajak and my friend Josh for Teen Best Friends Week only on Wheel of Fortune. We didn't win the whole thing, but by the end, we managed to earn over $12,000 in good old American money, which we split right down the middle. The episode is scheduled to air in February 2005, so I don't know how much of an idiot I look on national television, but word has spread in my local community, so I guess you could say I'm a bit of a celebrity.
I've learned a lot from the whole experience. This "money" thing is a vague concept to me; I come from a middle class family, so we don't always have money to recreationally spend on things. Now that I have this lump sum of money, it's not only a strange feeling but an immense responsibility; I could either save it or invest it wisely, or I could buy 600,000 Tootsie Rolls and call it a day. It also showed me the power of friendship. Because me and my friend Josh shared this experience, we've grown closer together as friends, the bond between us strengthening to something that can not be broken.
Most people are lucky to win $5 on a lottery ticket. For me, it was an immense blessing to have the opportunity to earn a kind of pillow or safety net to help me through my hard times. And, however irrelevant, I'm fairly convinced that appearing on Wheel of Fortune strenghtened my SAT Verbal abilities. Maybe I'm just imagining things.