How many people do you know that won something on live national TV? Because I think I was meant to have won something, and didn't.
The TV show was called What's Up Doc? and they had the idea of a phone-in for a competition. You had no question to answer if you got through, because the phone number you had to call was the question. It started as 0891 (a premium rate British number) and the next six digits were questions strewn throughout the show. Some of the questions were tough, and I had to do some research to find them out, but I pretty much had the first five answers. As they started to ask the sixth question, I prepared myself by dialing the phone and the first digits I knew, and as soon as the question had an answer, I pressed the last digit of the number.
And then, the phone line rang once, as I waited for someone to pick up the phone.
A long pause. I waited. The phone was in a different room to the TV so I couldn't see if I'd won. But the phone line rang again.
I didn't hear anything on the TV suggesting there was a dialing tone, that I could have been on air, so I couldn't have won. Could I?
The phone line rang again. I sighed. They must have gotten through to the winner by now. There they are, probably talking to the winner while I sit on a premium line, hearing the phone ring. Am I even paying for this right now? I couldn't have won. I never win.
The phone line rang again. And then silence. From the television. From the phone line. Nothing for a few seconds.
I didn't have any answers to what was happening. I gave up. I could have waited for another minute, just to see, just to hear someone else winning, but I gave up, I put the phone down and walked into the living room. As I did, the presenters were looking at each other, expecting someone to answer, but nobody was there for them to talk to. One of the presenters rushed the show to a commercial break.
That seemed odd at the time, and odder now. Why wouldn't they have someone there to talk to, so the audience could hear the winner's excitement? Surely the second best thing to winning something is hearing someone happy at winning something? It's often played on my mind since... had I been first in line and put the phone down, wrecking their game, just as they were going to say I won the Grand Prize of a 21" TV with VCR combo and a Super Nintendo?
The show came back from its commercial break. They simply stated that someone had won the prize, and talked to some kid who seemed pleased, but who also sounded like they had come to terms with their winning. Like they'd found out that they'd won between the break, when second in line had to be grabbed and given the prize instead.
I always wonder if I had wrecked that game format forever, and if that prize was meant to be mine. If I could have one question answered in my life, it surely wouldn't be this one, but if I were given a few, I'd loved to have known what happened that Saturday morning.