by Kim Van Sickler
When I was five years old, I was OBSESSED with the television gag show Truth or Consequences, emceed by a young Bob Barker.
There was a period, before I understood what television programming meant, when I rushed home from afternoon kindergarten and planted myself in front of the TV with my coloring books, tuned to the station on which this show would air. In my five-year-old mind, the television executives might decide to run my favorite show at any time... and if I wasn't watching, I'd miss that night's gags.
I have to say, that upon watching the above episode for this post, I winced at how bad it is. So bad, it's good. This was quality programming in the late 1960s.
Sometime during my fifth year or so, Truth or Consequences took to the road. It actually came to Cleveland, Ohio. Dad got tickets to a taping. We'd secured the right to sit in the studio audience and possibly appear on, in my youthful opinion, the best show of all time. I was so excited I thought I'd split a gut.
We had great seats. The show started, and Bob seemed to look right at me when he asked for a father/daughter volunteer. "Raise your hand, raise your hand!" Dad yelled at me. "What are you waiting for? This is your big chance. You love this show!"
But I froze. What if I got up there and made a total fool of myself? It was fun watching other people do it. I wasn't sure I wanted people laughing at me. I kept my hands in my lap, and Bob called three other father/daughter pairs to the stage.
I wouldn't be making a fool of myself that day. But Dad was incredibly disappointed in me, and I was disappointed in myself. Why didn't I go for it? The pairs on stage did have to do embarrassing things, but it was all in good fun, and I missed out on it.
I decided right then that I wouldn't make that mistake again. I would go for it. Five minutes afterwards, who will remember if I make a fool out of myself? And why should I care if they do? It was a transformative experience.
|Kim at age five.|