Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Press Your Luck

Larsen was winning so much money that the running total on his digital contestant podium no longer had sufficient enough real estate to display the dollar sign character. Perspiration dripped from his face. Under the hot lights, surrounded by a bloodthirsty arena of screaming audience members, bracketed by two pissed-off players who hadn't won a goddamn thing, staring straight into the Guy Smiley face of an agitated, loudmouth host who'd long since run out of different ways to proclaim Michael's performance "incredible"--Mr. Larsen was experiencing a horrible secret side-effect of his plan which he could share with no one: he had failed to locate an exit strategy.

In order for Michael to keep his winnings, he'd have to remain trapped on the stage of Press Your Luck forever. His situation was an infinite loop from which there was no escape: he'd learned how to trigger only plunger-hitting patterns nailing a cash prize and a free spin. According to the game's rules, this "free" spin would eventually have to be spun. In other words, each plunger push would lead to another. Nobody else could play, and Larsen himself could never stop playing.
A scenario that sounds like something from a Steven Millhauser novel. You can read about the luck, good and bad, of game-show contestant Michael Larsen, by clicking on the link below.

Link: Press Your Luck: The Michael Larsen Incident

[Thanks to Stephen Murphy for the link.]

comments: 4

Anonymous said...

Dr. Leddy this is by far my favorite posting. I don't know if it's because of it brain candy quality, or maybe I was just a big fan of Press Your Luck; what a great, hilarious story! No Whammies NO Whammies Come on Big Bucks Big Bucks and STOP!

Anonymous said...

I meant "because of its brain candy quality" - so much for proofreading

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for

Michael Leddy said...


Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the link. (You wrote "Dr. Leddy" ... are you a former student?)