A man in a raccoon costume was roller-skating around the stage and singing "Red Sails in the Sunset" in Pig Latin. As incredible as this sounds, what was even more incredible was that I was sitting there watching it of my own free will.
One of the panel of so-called celebrities gonged him and I felt a stabbing twinge of sadness. I was so depressed these days that rejection, even if it occurred on The Gong Show, stuck me like a knife. For a painful interlude there, I felt like I was the schnook in the ridiculous attire, being told that I wasn't wanted.
As another Gong Show contestant was hustled into the wings, I couldn't help feeling that my only companion, the television set, had betrayed me. At least when Let's Make A Deal had been on everyday nobody was rejected just for being a jerk. Now, on The Gong Show, all the misfits were receiving nothing but ridicule.
The Gong Show was almost over. A woman who had tap-danced underwater to "Fascinatin' Rhythm" was today's winner.
After a half-dozen commercials, a soap opera came on. I couldn't stand those things. Those people with all their problems-it was too much like real life.
Itching with frustration, I switched off the set and got up from my chair. Unfortunately I had nowhere to go but to a pile of dirty socks and underwear that needed washing, or a kitchen floor that needed something drastic done about its yellow waxy build-up.
I decided to pace for a while, smoke a few cigarettes, and try to burn away some of my tension. If I didn't calm down, I might do something desperate.
As I circled the living room, I found myself thinking about my husband. If only he would get a regular job instead of driving those damn cross-country trucks.
Although Ernie was gone sometimes for two or three weeks at a time, I was just supposed to carry on as though he came home every night at 5:30 like other men. When he did show up, he expected everything to be perfect. What if he got in off the road today? The house was a mess.
Over the years I had tried on more than one occasion to let Ernie know how I felt, but it always ended up in a shouting match. He never failed to remind me about all he'd done for me. "What haven't I bought you?" was how he always summed up h is side of the argument.