The Fur Flies!
By Don Mueller
(this particular column was printed in the national book, "The Best Of Mensa Newsletters")
As anybody in Mensa knows, there is a thin line between genius and stupidity. And believe you me, I've been a living example of that many times! Yes, it's even possible to go from one to the other in a matter of minutes. Let's see how this principle applied to myself recently. One Saturday, (the first of October, as a matter of fact) I was standing in my livingroom in deep thought, or should I say, in a trance state that one tends to go into when trying to decide what to do next. I looked out of my South window. I see this fat, stray cat sitting there. On my water sprinkler. (the sprinkler was this round, green plastic thing, I guess with the sun out, it was warmer sitting on the sprinkler than the grass) Then my questioning, Mensa-type mind went into action, and I thought, gosh, what would happen if I turned on the water?? I did. Yes, it IS possible for a cat to fly, if it really wants to! Would you call this an astute scientific observation? Would you call this a sadistic act of a man who has too much time on his hands? Would you suggest that (as many others have) I get a life? Ah, but now as Paul Harvey would say, "Here's The Rest of The Story....." Between the time that I observed the phenomena of a cat sitting on the sprinkler, and the time that I turned on the water, I said to myself, "use your head, Mueller, tape it." I set up my Video Camcorder on a tripod in the living room, aimed it through the window toward the cat under observation here. Yep, got a great video of a cat flying. Yep, sent it off immediately to "America's Funniest Home Videos". A month later I'm awoken from deep slumber by a phone call. "We like your cat video, it has been placed into the November 20th program. We have also determined that it's a finalist. Are you available to fly out to Hollywood at our expense this weekend to be on the show?" "Yea, well, I-guess-so-if-I hafta....zzzzzzzzzz" Later, when I awoke fully, and reality hit, let's just say I was doing what the cat did all over the house! As many of you saw, (along with 10 million people in the U.S. and more in 75 countries around the world) I won the grand prize of 10 thousand dollars, Bob Saget interviewed me, and referred to me on the program as "that nice man with the beautiful speaking voice". Channel 9 news in Denver featured me twice, showing off my cat clip as part of their fine news coverage.
According to my financial records, I made more money squirting a cat this last year than I did from my other job. Which should be very interesting when I try to explain this to my tax man in a few months! I've also decided that since 20 million people saw me earn this money, perhaps it would be wise to declare that particular bit of extra income to the IRS.
Which brings me to my current situation. This thing ain't over yet. About every 6 to 9 episodes of the show, AFHV has their $100,000 show. They fly back the last 7 or so $10,000 winners for the big, big, pot. Either during or shortly after you read this, your Mensa chapter president will be flying back to Hollywood, with high hopes of, oh, maybe early retirement? A coming year of riotous and hedonistic living? Stand by, America!
(The following was written a few months later)
I found out that my face is worth about $1800 per second. Naturally, us Mensans love to calculate unusual formulas, and how, you might ask, did I come up with that?? A couple of months ago in this column I told my big "cat" story. In February (1995), the program flew me back to Hollywood as one of seven contestant families to try for the $100,000 prize. If you watched on February 19th, you probably noticed that......I......uh.....nah, I didn't win the big, big one! It seems the audience was more in the mood toward voting for dog videos instead of cat videos! (I knew this was going to turn into a cat and dog fight!) Last November, Bob Saget did a complete interview with me on the program; This time, the only time that you saw my face was during the drum roll before the prize announcement, when you saw me with my mouth hanging open for one full second. That's right, exactly 30 video frames. Yep, the program spent about $1800 to fly me to Hollywood, put me up in an expensive hotel for 4 nights, just so I could be on national television for one second looking like a dork! But at least I now know what my face value is! Actually to be fair, if you looked during the roll of the credits at the end of the program with a magnifying glass, you would've seen me standing on stage with the other contestants playing volley ball with the balloons. Despite the fact that I'm not quite as financially independent as I thought I would be, and that the prospect of actually having to work for a living looms over me, I did have a good time. The program gave the contestants a tour of Hollywood. We had a catered lunch with the AFHV staff. I had my picture taken with Bob Saget. And, I have received an engraved, glass paperweight thing in the mail that verified that I almost won something! Before I left the green room after the taping of the program, I said to everyone in golden tones, "I shall return!" We shall see, won't we??
(various other columns on this web site elaborate more on other things that I've done on AFHV. It's sort of a continuing saga....)
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