Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond
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An Open Letter to the Guy Who Scored Only 12 “Fast Money” Points on Family Feud in the Mid-Seventies.
While watching the Game Show Network on a recent afternoon, I happened to catch a rerun of Family Feud. You can probably guess which episode I mean. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten your first name—I was in the bathroom when Richard Dawson introduced your unfortunate family—so for the purposes of this letter, I will call you “Jim.”
When Mr. Dawson said “I need two contestants to play Fast Money,” what made you decide to step forward, Jim? You must admit that your performance on the show had been less than stellar up to that point. The one time you gave a valid response—"Something you eat with onions" was the category, and you guessed “hamburgers” —you pronounced it incorrectly! “Hamburglars!” you shouted confidently. Remember how the audience laughed at you, Jim? Remember the indulgent kindness of the judges who accepted your answer? In fact, I think it’s fair to say that your family made it to the “Fast Money” round in spite of your participation. And yet, when the stakes were highest, you decided to go to bat for the team. If you thought you could redeem yourself, you were sorely mistaken.
As you will recall, your lovely wife, Beverly, played first, and she came up with a respectable 86 points. You only needed 114, Jim. A real man might have made up the difference with room to spare. But even Beverly, who presumably is well acquainted with your breathtaking stupidity, must have been stunned when Richard Dawson said, “Without giving a brand name, name a kind of soup,” and you answered, “Campbell’s.” Dawson had barely recovered from the shock before he asked for a popular name for a dog, and you answered, “Poodle.” Your family stood there, helpless, watching their hopes slip away. Dawson asked you for an animal that could kill a man. What made you say “gorilla,” Jim? And when he asked you for something that flies, and your first guess (“bird”) matched your wife’s, did you honestly think that the next best response would be “bat”? How many people out of a hundred did you think would have come up with “bat”?
I can tell you how many did, Jim. Zero. In fact, none of the hundred people they asked gave answers that matched yours in the slightest, except for the “word or phrase you hear in a game of poker,” where twelve other people said “full house.” 12 points total, Jim. You and your wife together didn’t even break 100. How does it feel to be such a failure?
I have to say, Jim, I’ve seen some pretty stupid people on The Feud, but your responses were so moronic they defy description. I guess you must be about sixty years old by now—that is, if you survived the ride home with your angry and humiliated family members. I hope you feel the oppressive shame of your stupidity every single day. I hope you see the disappointment in your wife’s eyes whenever you bend down to kiss her. I hope, whenever Game Show Network reruns that episode of Feud, your friends call you to remind you. I imagine you forcing a laugh—"Haha, ‘hamburglar,’ yeah, that’s pretty funny"—and then hanging up and breaking down in tears. You cost your family a lot of money, Jim. I hope you’re satisfied.
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