This Week's Contestant
Being on Wheel of Fortune was an amazing experience. It would have been great to make it to the Bonus Round, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Let's start with the obvious: It's so easy to make stupid mistakes up there. The pace of play is hard to handle, everything happens so fast. I was so focused on each puzzle that I really didn't have a grasp on the scores and I wasn't even looking at the Wheel to see where I landed.
I felt like such an idiot when I called out an "H" in the first puzzle when there were already a couple "H"s up there. I was thinking "M" and looking directly at an "H" and I said "H", how embarrassing. I yell at the TV all the time when people do that. Now I know how easy it is to make simple mistakes up there. Hence, the Time Machine'I wish I had a time machine now. I had decided, in my mind, that the last word of the second puzzle was "MACHINE". I didn't take the time to confirm that last word once I figured out the front half of the puzzle. Again, hindsight screams "what were you thinking?" But it's so easy to get ahead of yourself when the lights are on and Vanna White is right across the room, looking directly at you, smiling and clapping -- I think she liked me.
My plan going in was just to solve puzzles and let the money pile up. The first and third Toss-Ups just came to me - mostly luck I guess. Luck is a huge part of playing this game. The second Toss-Up landed in my lap and I was very fortunate to get another turn to solve the first puzzle. I blew it on the second puzzleughh. I didn't let it bother me, the Prize Puzzle is where it's at. Gotta get the Prize Puzzle! But it wasn't in the cards. Melissa was awesome and was able to keep spinning, calling the right letters, buying smart vowels and solving her way to Hawaii.
Honestly, yes, I was hoping that she would slip up. I knew the puzzle early and would have solved it immediately if I got a turn -- it would have sent me directly to the Bonus Round, or so I thought The third Toss-Up gave me a slight lead over Melissa, so all I wanted was for Becky to win the last round and get some money. She was great and I wanted her to win more than the auto grand, and it would most likely put me in Bonus Land. Pat's final spin landed on $5,000 - are you kidding me? It was anyone's game with each letter worth $6,000, and we all knew it. I had the opportunity to win when I got two "H"s, but the answer just wouldn't come to me. You know going in that it was "California Coast" week, so you're conscious of that, but everything is happening so fast! All I could think about once Song Title' came up was the Beach Boys. I had never heard of a song called "Hooray for Hollywood", but it became pretty evident that was the answer once Melissa called the "O"s. What could have been... Melissa played great and certainly deserved the opportunity to play in the Bonus Round. She was pretty nervous all day, so I was very impressed and excited that she did so well.
This was an experience of a lifetime and I'll certainly never forget my special day at Sony Studios, with my boy Pat Sajek. There's really nothing to look forward to moving forward; how can it get any better than that? Oh yeah, I still have a beautiful family and over eleven grand to spend as my wife sees fit. I never got to have that beer with Pat, his people just won't answer the phone... Maybe some day. Thanks to everyone at WOF, especially the make-up girls for making me HD Perfect. I had an amazing time!