The Social Contract Behind Door Number 3

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If you read this blog, you might know that I have a rather recent fascination with the game show reboot of “Let’s Make a Deal.” It’s partially because of the host, Wayne Brady, who is effortlessly funny without a trace of mean, and partially because the rest of the cast compliments him so well.

But a lot of it is for the contestants themselves. The show is a tribute to people good-natured enough to show up on national TV in creatively odd costumes and swoon at the idea that they might win anything. Anything at all. The whole thing is imbued with kind of optimism I wish I had, an optimism we could all use in our lives.

The last time I watched, though, I was really taken by the show of disappointment when a contestant might have won something, but didn’t. It doesn’t matter what it was, or how ill-suited it might have been for them, or how unlikely they were to use it, every single person who could have had one thing but got something else acts as though they are genuinely sorry to missed out.

Even when they clearly aren’t.

And maybe that’s part of my attraction to the show, it’s like watching the best parts of the social contract we have with one another in a polite society play out in lurid colors with impromptu songs. We say please and thank you. We appreciate the effort. We are grateful for what we are given when it doesn’t need to be given at all, and best of all, we simply enjoy the experience.

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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