When you hear the beep,
[everyone chime in]
it’s Supermarket Sweep”.
– David Ruprecht
When it comes to game shows, like you, I have my own Mount Rushmore of favorites; shows like Let’s Make A Deal, The Price is Right and Hollywood Squares (w/Peter Marshall and Paul Lynde). Each and every one holds a special place on the side of my television mountain.
But for reasons I still don’t completely understand, Supermarket Sweep was always one of my early favorites. While never having the pleasure of being in the studio audience, I can still feel the rush of answering host, David Ruprechts’ closing question.
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, contestants would play product oriented pricing games in order to earn valuable shopping time. Why was it valuable? Because at the end of the show, you’d have time (however much you had racked up) to go careening through the show’s grocery store, grabbing the most expensive products you could throw in your cart. The contestant with the highest cash total won. The best contestants were those with a strategy that went something like this: First, run (do not walk) to the meat section. Once there, start throwing as many beef roasts, frozen turkeys and steaks as you could into your cart. Next, savvy contestants would make a bee line for ‘Health and Beauty’; snagging handfuls of high-priced pills, cough medicine and razor blades, adding to their princely total. Yes, my fleet-footed warriors of retail, I may be simple, but it was exciting!
I think the reason these time-sensitive memories came flooding back to me this week may have been Source Code finally making it to cable.
Put simply (and without spoiling the ending), Army helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), wakes up on a commuter train traveling to Chicago…which is odd since the last thing he remembered, he had been on a mission in Afghanistan. Over and over, he snaps out of 8-minute loops to discover that the world around him – including his traveling partner Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) and the train’s bathroom mirror – knew him as Sean Fentress, a school teacher. Uh? I won’t go any further except to say the flick was a fun combination of sci-fi, action, mystery and current events. At one dramatic point in the movie, Colter asks Christina, “If you only had a minute to live, what would you do?”
While I can imagine a Supermarket Sweep champion saying, “Go to the meat aisle”, we’ve all heard wonderfully philosophical phrases about Time like, ‘Tomorrow is promised to no one‘. And while a lot of people think it was Shakespeare or in the Bible, it was actually Tom Jones (Without Love (1969)), Chicago Bear Walter Peyton and Clint Eastwood who all spoke the same essential Truth. Cher talks about life as being what she does ‘between the parenthesis’.
That’s all well and good, but do we ever really heed the wisdom?
Humor me and let me break it down another way.
Tornado sirens are blaring…the sky is that really bad shade of dark green and there’s a twister the size of the Empire State Building headed for your house. What do you grab on your way down to the basement? What (or who) we grab speaks volumes about each of us. “You’ve got a minute to live. What do you do?” The instant choices each of us make in those moments, broadcasts the content of our character.
Marian Keegan knew all about this time stuff when she penned her essay ‘The Opposite of Loneliness‘ for a special issue of her school newspaper to be distributed at her college graduation. She died in a tragic car accident less than a week after her commencement. She was 22.
Time is, indeed, a harsh mistress.
So as I leave you to read Marian’s words (see link below), my own challenge to myself is to mimic Pavlov and his dogs by conducting my own behavioral modification experiment for the next 7-days.
Every time I hear the beep – be it my phone, my alarm clock or even the microwave signaling that my corn dog is done – I’m going to use that audible trigger to do something phenomenal with my next ‘one minute’. Try it.
The cast of ‘Rent’ had five-hundred twenty-five thousand four hundred minutes. Colter Stevens had eight minutes. You’ve only got one. So join me this week and when they’re least expecting it, tell someone “I love you”. Research shows it only takes 3-seconds; you’ve 57 seconds left…or enough time to keep repeating it another 19 times (or until they get it).
How about hugging someone close to you for no apparent reason? A good hug clocks in at 15-seconds which leaves you with 45 seconds for three more.
Or, how about using your ‘last minute’ to kiss someone? Now there’s no good ETA on that, but if you’re lucky and play your cards right, that one could take awhile.
Make your minutes count this week. Pucker up.
A note to my fellow bloggers: I don’t know about you, but I’m buried each week with what to read…so little time, so many posts. But this one really struck me as special.
By way of background, the essay was written by Marina Keegan ’12 for a special edition of the News distributed at Yale’s class of 2012’s commencement exercises last week. Keegan died later that week in a car accident on Saturday, May 26, 2012.
It’ll take a lot less than eight minutes to read and you’ll glow all week. – Dan
BLOG JUMP: KEEGAN: The Opposite of Loneliness
PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS: David Ruprecht in his cart: http://www.davidruprecht.com/, Supermarket-sweep Time Won So Far: http://www.encyclopedia.com, Super Market Sweep (blur): http://www.nystagmus.co.uk/blog/supermarket-sweep, Source Code (2011) movie poster: http://www.impawards.com/2011/source_code_ver2.html, Clint Eastwood: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/28025.Clint_Eastwood, Mariana Keegan ’12: Photo by Facebook Your Minute Counts button: dan4kent,
Multiple stories on Mariana Keegan (Including The Opposite of Loneliness can be found at: http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/may/27/keegan-opposite-loneliness/
This week’s video selection of modern day philosophers features Tom Jones and his 1969 hit, “Without Love”. Enjoy this classic from off the beaten path:
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