And a jolly good morning to you folk(s). This is Mike Jenkins. Has it been (looks at watch, winces) since I last
golden-showered you with my wit? You poor person! I apologize to all of my reader.
Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a moral quandary since the beginning of October. It was consuming my every thought and I didn’t know what to do about it. I’ll tell you what happened.
I was watching “Wheel of Fortune” one night (We just call it “Wheel” in our house) and as the always-charming Pat Sajak quipped his guest into “giving that wheel a spin,” after the contestant guessed a letter (I think it was an “R”), Vanna, looking sparkly, sashayed her way to the letter and before she could touch the side of the screen, the letter flipped over.
I dropped my hot chocolate in shock.
“Grettle,” I said quietly in disbelief. “I don’t think Vanna is actually turning over the letters.”
Grettle barked in protest, unwilling to admit the truth. She’s always been a loyal Vanna fan.
It takes a keen eye to spot these things, but I did; that’s what you pay me for. But guys, listen: I think that Vanna’s role on “Wheel” is completely superfluous.
Look, I didn’t want to make the discovery, ok? But I did. I looked at past episodes and there’s even a section called “Toss Up” where Vanna “presses a button” so that all the letters appear automatically one at a time until someone guesses it right and Vanna just stands off to the side the whole time.
How could we have been so blind? Trust me, now that I’ve pointed it out, you’ll never un-see it: She is completely unnecessary.
So, the problem I had over the past two weeks was whether to let the producers of “Wheel” know about it. If they did know that Vanna served no real purpose, she’d be let go.
Times are tough right now and with the amount of cash and prizes “Wheel” gives out on a daily basis, they could surely use some of that freed-up Vanna scratch to send a contestant on a trip to pick some apples in upstate Massachusetts.
She makes $4 million dollars a year. That’s a shitload of apples.
I wonder how her contract negotiations work. Does she walk toward the producer’s office and before she gets inside, the guy shoos her away, slams the door and slides the contract underneath? Or maybe she’s invited in and as a goof the producer asks her to explain why she should get paid $4 million a year, stifling chortles and nyuks the whole time.
On the other hand, doesn’t Vanna deserve to have a job? From the show’s inception until the late 90’s, Vanna did physically turn over letters. It looked like hard work, especially when vowels were concerned.
Vowels are like, in every word.
Fast fact! The most commonly used letter in the English language is “E.”
It must have been hard work back in the day because she even wrote an autobiography in 1987 called Vanna Speaks which I now sadly have to read because it’s 190 pages when it should only be one sentence: “Sometimes I get blisters.”
Oh, fuck me, there’s 32 pages that are just photos.
In the end, I decided not to let the producers know about my discovery. I figured, she’s not hurting anyone with her “White” lie (get it?) and she is pleasant to look at. Who knows, maybe the time she takes to walk from side to side is valuable to contestants who need an extra second or two to think about the puzzle’s solution.
However, it does feel odd to sit back and watch television and see someone whom you’ve never met, has no idea you exist and yet you still wield this incredible power over her. It’s thrilling and unsettling at the same time.
I have the letter written, but unsent. I hold it in my hand every evening from 7:30 to 8:00, waiting for Vanna to screw up. To draw a swastika on the side of the puzzle board, queef into the microphone, or say Tom Petty was mediocre– anything really that will cause a disturbance and upset my viewing. Then I’ll bring the hammer down.
If she only knew.