In our unfortunate society of self-esteem, we have lost the attitude of what the penalty of losing means in our society.
Thus came a recent incident where recently, I was reduced to Nancy Kerrigan complaining after seeing my rival beat my alma mater in the worst possible way, denying a postseason bid and forcing me to moan while everyone else had a party. This had me contemplating suicide off the Ponte Vecchio into the Arno River, a certain Geisel character who took my Christmas away, losing my car, and hearing the dreaded “losing horns” on a Radio Television Luxembourg show.
All four of these symbols of losing are painful, and when I think of each of them, they mean different things, but the same to me, who has lost my Christmas and now can’t go anywhere.
SUICIDE OFF THE PONTE VECCHIO INTO THE ARNO
This one’s funny. In Gianni Schicchi, which I have said is one of the funnier operas I have attended, Lauretta pleads with her father (the titular character of the opera) she wants to find a way to marry Rinuccio from the Donati family (whose patriarch had just died). The will of Buoso Donati states the entire empire is going to the church, and the monastery. Gianni was hired by the Donati clan to rewrite the will so they could earn their take instead, and the dueling clan irritated him, so he wants to leave. Lauretta pleads not to leave, since she loves Rinuccio, and in the signature aria O mio babbino caro, she requests the will be rewritten so that she can marry Rinuccio. Failure to do such, she pleads, will lead to her suicide off the Ponte Vecchio into the Arno River.
I told my voice teacher a week after the depressing loss and she responded, “Did you see Gianni Schicchi (there was a performance three weeks prior to this incident)?”
A CERTAIN GEISEL CHARACTER WHO TOOK MY CHRISTMAS AWAY
Do our children forget to read today? The feeling that my Christmas had been lost to the Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) was the exact feeling of depression. And how many people know that the Grinch is a character of Theodore Geisel, who used his middle name in his pseudonym.
LOSING MY CAR
Fox Cable Networks’ Speed Channel airs a television series, Pinks, hosted by Rich Christensen. The show, easily the most popular series on the channel, was created by the University of Northern Iowa graduate, who admits he has sold television show concepts for a living. Many shows were rejected, but this concept was given a trial on Speed with just a small budget, a few officials and three cameras. Its popularity is based on a best three out of five 1950's-style street race on a drag strip, complete with the show devisor as lead official and starter. The winner takes the loser’s car (sometimes truck, motorcycle, or snowmobile) with him in this battle.
My anger with losing comes to the point I think I am the loser on Pinks. There is something about not being able to lose, and the show is one of those shows which teaches the concept of not being able to lose. Losing leads to losing the car.
THE DREADED LOSING HORNS ON A RADIO TELEVISION LUXEMBOURG SHOW
Radio Televison Luxembourg, which is 90% owned by Bertelsmann AG, is the successor to Mark Goodson - Bill Todman Productions, and the owner of the entire library of game shows of that firm through its FremantleMedia arm.
RTL’s current game show library includes Family Feud/Fortunes (the UK version uses the latter), Temptation (was known as Sale of The Century until recently; from the Reg Grundy library), two shows on the CBS roster, The Price Is Right (Drew Carey) and Password (set to be revived during 2008 with Regis Philbin), the Idols franchise, and international versions of The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader / 10-Year Old (the show’s name differs by country).
Many Mark Goodson shows play a losing horn after a contestant loses games, such as losing bonus games on many of their shows, especially with double overbids or certain painful losses on The Price Is Right, which is RTL’s only show that currently uses losing horns.
Now you do know why losing hurts, and sometimes too many game shows teach the lesson that you cannot afford to lose, since losing results in painful sounds or in the worst case, losing what you have.