Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Squeeze Play

Bob Barker.

One of the simplest, no glitz, no glam, down-to-earth names you might ever encounter, and one that readily brings vivid visions of prizes and bidding and dollar amounts and games.
One of those games is simply known as "Squeeze Play". A glittering, enticing prize was given a showy advertisement by the personless voice of Rod Roddy and voiceless person of one of Barker's Beauties, then given a price with one too many digits. The contestant's job was to choose which number didn't belong, pluck it out, and allow the remaining digits to squeeze together to make the final price. Once that number was pulled out, there was no time to put it back; the beginning and ending numbers began to move toward each other with a whirring, wrenching, clicking impetus, threatening to crush anything placed in between. If the contestant's price matched the manufacturer's suggested retail price, they walked home (or drove home) with their prize. If not, do-doot-do-do, wahhhhhh; it was game over.

What happens to the number squeezed out? Are there, perhaps, jobless twos standing on street corners with cardboard signs: "You're my number one"? Or perhaps a zero placing a classified ad: "Willing to be part of your next paycheck"? Is the middle member forgotten by the numbers left on the squeezing block?


The tail ends of my life in the U.S. seem to be squeezing closer and closer together, squeezing out my life in Kenya.
2010-2011 was an interruption. It didn't belong in the MSRP. The years before and after squeezed together and rested against each other with a resounding thump. I can't squeeze it back in. That's not where it belongs. But neither is it a set of numbers looking for an outdated kittens calendar to hide in.

2010-2011 doesn't belong in the MSRP. I can't squeeze it back in. It doesn't fit. It stands alone. It belongs in my head, my heart, my hand, available as a ready reminder of the struggles and joys it held. 

I don't think I'd want it any other way.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

How do you do it? You always seem to capture what I'm feeling, and in ways I wouldn't think to express.