Dear Doris McNulty

I’m Sorry…


November 12, 2000

Dear Doris McNulty,

I would like to sincerely apologize for my despicable behavior October 13th, 1999 on the Price is Right when we were co-contestants. It reflected poorly on my training as a U.S. Marine and my upbringing in a Christian household. I have been taught my entire life to be unselfish and to respect my elders. Both of these morals were blurred by the cloud of panic that enshrouded me during the show.

To refresh your memory, Doris, we were both on contestant’s row. It was the last opportunity to get on stage before the showcase showdowns. You’d been patiently waiting on contestant’s row for nearly the entire broadcast. Rod Roddy had just hollered for me to “come on down.” I was the newcomer. After Bob asked me where I was stationed, the bidding began, accompanied by my contemptible behavior. The subject of bidding was a matching Lancelarr Solid Oak Hutch and Dinette Set. When you saw the items, your beady, glaucomafied eyes immediately lit up. You looked optimistic: Bidding on High Definition Television Sets and DVD Players had made your lack of Home Electronics price knowledge glaringly apparent, but Oak Furniture was a different story. You were ready. It was time to shine.

Bob asked Tamika, a telephone operator, to start the bidding. “Eleve…n….hundred and forty…….nine,” offered Tamika. The crowd hushed until she realized the reason for quiet and nervously added “Bob.” Sam Kinter, a UCLA sweatshirt clad twenty-something, made an equally inaccurate bid of “Nine fifty, Bob. Yeah…uh…Nine fifty.” Then it was McNulty time. Your previous bids were pathetic, at best, Ms. McNulty(Big Screen TV: $250, Refrigerator: $2700, DVD Player: $1200) But this time, you calmly leaned into the microphone and with unwavering confidence, your usually faint voice thundered, “Seven Hundred Seventeen Dollars, Bob.” I was blinded by your sheer confidence. “She must be right,” I thought to myself, “or at least damn close!” So what did I do? I panicked. My mind was blank. I had no choice but to go with the tactic I had seen a thousand times before. I followed a simple formula: MY BID = BEST BID + 1. “Seven eighteen, Bob.”

The crowd wasn’t shocked. Rather, they were disappointed. Like me, they’d seen it before. They prayed to themselves that I would follow the values of the U.S. Marine Corps I was representing. They prayed I’d take mercy on a 70-year-old woman. But I let them down. After my bid, I could feel the bad vibes from the crowd wash through my body towards Bob Barker and then bounce off of his robotic endoskeleton back towards me. But from you, Ms. McNulty, I felt no coldness. You just stared forward with a slight smile overhanging your arched frame. You knew there was a chance. Your bid might be exactly correct.

I was honestly shocked when Bob dejectedly said, “Seven Hundred Eighteen Dollars. Bryce, you’re exactly correct.” I think I heard the magnetic field in your pacemaker break. Your tiny gray head lowered over your stooped shoulders and you took a deep breath. But with barely a moment’s hesitation, you picked yourself up and turned to me. You looked me gently in the eyes and shook my hand, and sincerely said, “Congratulations.” As I turned to walk up on stage, you patted me on the back and added, “Good Luck.”

Bob Barker informed me and the crowd that I’d be playing Hole in One or Two for a brand new burgundy Cadillac DeVille. I glanced over at you, noticing for the first time that you were wearing a baby blue Ashburton Hills Golf and Tennis Club cardigan. I also recalled feeling the slight callus below your pinky finger when you shook my hand. This game was indeed meant for you, Ms. McNulty. With expert showmanship, Bob unveiled the products that I could bid on in an attempt to move progressively closer to the hole. The guilt hit me full force when I saw the five products: Gold Bond Medicated Cream, Depends Adult Diapers, Fibercon, Tennyson High Density Crochet Needles, and Sun’s Crystallized Ginger. I could tell you knew the prices right away.

The crowd was atypically silent as Bob asked me to start bidding. For each product, you calmly called out a suggestion. Mistaking your helpful attempts for malice-fueled revenge tactics, I used your guesses as a “wrong-answer barometer” of sorts. As each price was revealed, your estimative skill and good intentions were validated. My distrust was groundless, and I missed every price by over three dollars.

You were more than gracious, Ms. McNulty. But I didn’t realize that. Despite my distrust, you still supported me as I started to putt from the farthest position possible. “You can do it! Pretend your arms are a pendulum!” you shouted. I used your tactic, but not because I trusted you. I was panicked and my body responded to the instructions almost instinctually. The putt curved slightly towards the left, but I felt you “will it” back towards the hole. When the putt dropped square in the hole, I think you were more ecstatic than I was. You appeared to leap a good four feet off the ground, shouting, “Go for it kiddo!” Despite your enthusiasm for me, I purposefully avoided you after the show because I still was unsure about your intentions. I didn’t even let you sit in my new ride or run your shrivelled hands across the smooth oak table.

I’m sorry, Ms. McNulty. I don’t know how I can make it up to you. I think the only thing that I can do is give you everything I won on the show. Because, in reality, it was you who won it. So, please let me know when its a good time for me to drop off the several years supply of Centrum Silver and Molasses that came in the trunk of the car. I would give you the DeVille and the Dinette Set, but I already pawned them so I could buy some aftermarket shocks, nitrous, a glass packed muffler, and really killer fluorescent lighting for my Camaro. So let me know.

Bryce Dixon
Private First Class,
United States Marine Corps