Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Loser Wins Something

Bill Murray with David Letterman
David Letterman, right, with Bill Murray, the first guest on his nighttime talk show.
Yesterday the Complete and Total Loser won two tickets to watch a recording of the Late Show with David Letterman.
The show’s website has run a contest for years in which readers are invited to email an address at the show each week with the hope of winning tickets. The Loser has done this for some time now, often wondering why, considering there are doubtless thousands doing so and that he is, after all, a loser. When he got the email he nearly deleted it without opening it, assuming it was spam. This is how dumb the Loser is: the email’s subject line was Late Show Ticket Winner!
The message was from a woman who’s title is Audience Assistant and read as follows, with two obvious and minor changes:

Congratulations, Complete and Total Loser!

Your name was drawn in our newsletter subscriber ticket giveaway! You won two tickets to a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman!

These tickets can be used on the date of your choice. Please call me at 212-XXX-XXXX, or simply reply to this email to discuss a date that would work for you.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter - we look forward to seeing you in our audience!

Many thanks,
A woman’s name
Audience Assistant

Polite and succinct.  
The Loser, pathetic, needy, wrote back:
I'm delighted to have been drawn in the ticket giveaway and I thank you for informing me of this. Geezer that I am, I actually remember watching Dave guest host the Tonight Show, his morning show and his first late night show. It opened with The NBC Dancers ... where are they now?
I live in Philadelphia so a trip to NYC won't take too much planning. I'd like to combine it with some museum visits and a night or two, however, so I will need to schedule a day off from work. I'll get in touch with you later this week, if that's all right.
The Complete and Total Loser

The Loser was telling the truth about his fondness for Letterman. Even the phrase “Complete and Total Loser” has a Lettermanesque ring to it, those of you who watch him will agree.
The first time he saw him was in college in the late 1970s. Letterman was guest hosting the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson for a week. This was back before every student had a TV in his or her room and the Loser would sit, alone of course, in a TV lounge while his future superiors studied or slept. Late night talk shows were still 90 minutes long then, running till 1 a.m. The Loser remembers watching Letterman on Monday night and wondering how in the world he ever got on national television. By Friday night the Loser understood his style and comic rhythms and longed for Johnny’s next vacation. In years to come the Loser would feel the same way about Steve Martin: I get it; you’re making fun of the concept of an arrow through your head being funny.
Before too long, the Loser saw Martin as the one of a handful of genuinely funny people in the western world.
The Loser has gone through phases of never missing a single episode of the show for years at a stretch to watching only occasionally. At the moment he hasn’t watched the show since March, which is when his digital to analogue converter box died and he stopped watching television.

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