“Table Games”

“I’m no the guy that feels comfortable engaging in forced conversation,” Matt spoke, his eyes scanning with avoidance. “I wish I was able to, but it’s hard. For every one success, it seems like there are ten consecutive fails. I don’t even try anymore. They don’t care. Every person has an agenda, so even if I did have something to say, would it really matter anyway?

Matt’s lack of self-esteem sprouted at a young age. It had little to do with his home life. Matt’s parents were both kind and loving towards their children, but both worked while he was still young, so Matt spend most days either before school started or during summer breaks watching daytime game shows and dreaming up ways to participate on-air one day.

Around the age of 10, Matt’s expectations became higher than his actual abilities. After many breakdowns over his age being the main reason why he would not be able to physically be on “The Price is Right” or “Card Sharks,” Matt decided to create a life goal that was possible.

When the game show “Press Your Luck” made it to the weekly daytime line-up, Matt found his new calling. Peter Tomarken, famed host of the show that featured the dreaded “whammy” that would interfere with each contestant’s path to glory, would end each episode with a “whammy poem”. These poems were written and sent in by fans of the show.

Matt spent hours writing down short rhymes about the “little red whammy” and his escapades. He would practice reading each poem aloud in the mirror, giving his best Peter Tomarken impression, including precise pauses and inflections, before ending on the same “see ya next time folks” as if he were the host himself.

Matt waited months. Even though his aunt reminded Matt that all the shows were “filmed before live studio audiences” but were not actually “live” when he watched them, he obsessed and fell into an uncommon depression for a 10-year old.

(from draft 1 — 7/13/19)

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