I’m afraid it’s the end of civilization as we know it.
Last Sunday, I witnessed the collapse of intelligent society with the premier of NBC’s new prime time game show, Minute to Win It. The program features contestants vying for monetary prizes by pitting themselves against the clock to complete ridiculous tasks in sixty seconds. Success guarantees players a cash reward as well as the opportunity to continue to make fools of themselves on national television for a chance at more dough.
Folks are lining up for the opportunity. NBC’s website giddily gushed over the zillions of fans who clogged their inbox inquiring about the possibility of becoming contestants after Sunday’s inaugural showing.
I suppose it’s no surprise as anyone who breathes in and follows with breathing out has the qualifications to compete. Play requires no real athletic prowess, although the website admonishes those who’d like to play at home that some of the stunts are indeed physical and shouldn’t be undertaken by those with medical conditions. (Truth be told, one contestant worked up such a sweat pulling tissues out of a box that I thought they’d need a crash cart.)
With names like “How’s it Hanging?” and “Bite Me,” the games are designed to ensure that challengers look as spastic as possible for the duration of their adventure. On Sunday, a slightly loopy young lady twirled feverishly in a circle while swinging around a yo-yo attached to her behind in an effort to knock over six soda cans. (Darned if she didn’t win five grand.)
The entire enterprise resembles nothing so much as a drunken adult version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, with an endless supply of bizarre variations to the party games.
And that’s not all. People have been practicing. NBC has graciously supplied a list of all of the games, their requirements and supplies needed to anyone interested. The result? Drooling over a possible fifteen minutes of fame, folks are setting up training camps, filming the results and submitting them to NBC in an effort to win a spot on the program.
Is it any wonder America is in the mess we’re in? The economy is in chaos, millions are out of work, we’re fighting two wars, and people are using their precious minutes to practice using their ears as part of a pulley system to raise three M & Ms, stacked on horizontal pencils, to their mouths in under a minute.
How about a more constructively spent sixty seconds? Take a minute to learn a new word every day. Lord knows that with texting and spellcheck on our computers, most of us can barely speak, let alone spell, English any more.
Clean out a shelf in your refrigerator. If it’s anything like mine, the back houses life forms yet to be identified. Before they multiply, do a minute sweep and toss them.
Instead of vegetating on the sofa, run up and down the stairs for a minute at a time. If the steps are too much, at least walk around the kitchen table. And keep the refrigerator door closed!
Go through a single drawer and throw away at least one thing—an article of clothing, a pen that no longer works, a magazine you’ve been saving for who knows what? Imagine the clutter you’ll work through in a week.
Toss a ball with your dog. The poor thing is probably sick of lying at your feet while you watch television. Plus, he’s getting fat.
Any number of minute long activities has the potential to add to the greater good instead of dumbing us down ever farther. However, truth be told, none of my options sounds like much fun. And no prize at completion, either.
Hmmm. I think I get it. Why bother doing something constructive when laying a few Oreos on your face and working them over to your mouth in a minute can pull in some big bucks? Beats a part time job waiting tables.
I have to stop writing now. It’s time for me to practice bouncing ping pong balls into this bucket I have strapped to my head. Don’t laugh. I’ve got bills to pay.