Fail Epic

A friend named Steve threw a surprise party for his wife Karin on Saturday. I knew that we were in for a treat when the invitation mentioned that they would have barbeque from M&M Catering and fried chicken from Chandler’s Deli.

Steve spent many hours scanning family photos and compiling them into a great slideshow. I was surprised to learn that he used nothing other than the software that is included with the Windows operating system.

As the party started to wind down, a few of Karin’s relatives asked to see the videotape of her appearance on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” I cringed, knowing what was ahead.

Ten years ago, Karin asked me to be one of her four potential lifelines. She knew three of us as fellow parents at Sacred Heart Cathedral School. Her son and my son were classmates. The fourth lifeline was her father. Each of us had to be reachable by land-line during the time that Karin was in the hot seat.

Her appearance was scheduled for a Friday in October. The taping of the previous episode ran long and Karin got bumped to Monday. She had to call all her lifelines and ask us to stay home by our phones on Monday too. Like the others, I got a call when Karin reached the hot seat. I sat in my home office with my computer screen on Google.

What I didn’t know was that Karin’s appearance would stretch over two episodes. Enough time elapsed while a new audience was being seated and Meredith Vieira and Karin were changing clothes, that I assumed she didn’t need my help. I went downstairs to have dinner. Naturally, that’s when the call came from Meredith.

I ran back upstairs to the wired phone and the computer. I should point out that I weighed considerably more in those days. I was breathing heavily throughout the conversation. Meredith asked a few questions but most of that banter was edited out of the telecast. Finally, Karin asked me the $64,000 question: “In 1990, what movie became the first to be released with an NC-17 rating? A) Henry & June B) Full Metal Jacket C) Kids D) Showgirls” I didn’t know. My attempt at a Google search gave me a TV station in Raleigh and a coastal highway in North Carolina.

I couldn’t speak a word about the show until it was broadcast in the Spring of the following year. It was an easy secret to keep, considering that I cost my friend a big chunk of change. I took some consolation in the fact that two of her other lifelines didn’t know the answer either. The only one who would have known about NC-17 films was Karin’s father.

Despite my embarrassment, I saved the audio as an MP3 file, which you can hear by clicking below:

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