“What’s my line?”


Way back yonder in the early days of TV land, there was a very popular game show called What’s My Line. If you remember that, please accept my congratulations. You’re doing well. At the age we’re at, we’re doing well to remember anything. The format of that old show called for a panel of three well-known personalities to question a mystery guest (usually a celebrity) hidden behind a screen to try to figure out who they were.

That might be a good game show to bring back this year, just in time for the 2024 Presidential campaign because it seems like some of the candidates are swapping campaign promises around like baseball cards at the cub scout picnic. From all appearances, it’s going to be really difficult keeping track of who is who and who said what and when he said it, and did he really understand what came out of his mouth while it was running? With the presumptive candidates being two aging men neither of whom are particularly razor-sharp or stable, a revival of “What’s My Line, the Presidential Version” might be helpful. The show could feature two familiar mystery contestants, one of whom is a man who likes to make up words and contractions and speak in languages no one has ever heard before. Another celebrity candidate just makes up whatever convenient facts he needs whether it involves stories from the headlines of the past or random numbers of missing votes or nicknames for his current list of top ten “most-favorite enemies”. Already, both mystery contestants have been dodging and darting around with some very unusual replies to the same old usual, worn-down questions about the important issues of the day. “To our first Mystery guest, can you tell us please what your position is on illegal immigration?” “Why, of course, I can. It’s the same thing I have been saying for the last one hundred trillion, billion and elevendy years. No joke, and that’s not hyper-purply. We want to work with our friends in the other party to keep the border closed and keep Republicans in Mexico where they belong.” But sir, that doesn’t make sense. “What? Well, that’s what it says on the thing, the tele, record prompter player thing right here! Come on man!” “Uh, thank you, Mystery guest one. Mystery guest two can you reply to the same question? “Yes, but first would you like a copy of my new, luxurious coffee-table book on the greatest President and Vice President of all time? I would also like to con-gratulate little Nikki for a wonderful campaign in Iowa, and also thank Barack for the heart-felt encouragement he has passed along to me on the MAGA revolution and the drill baby drill campaign.” But sir, can this really be you behind that screen because you somehow sound different.” “No, actually, this is not me, it is my new A.I. software, and it will soon also be available in the home version entitled “Fuzzier and Warmer” as well as the legal ver-sion entitled, “Catch Me if You Can” which is to be released sometime in a hurry, I hope.”

Game shows were very different way back then. Everyone always seemed to be in a good mood, polite and well-dressed. Nobody was wearing a banana costume and running up and down the aisles trying to make a deal. Presidential races are different now too. I’m not too sure what that says about where we’re headed, but it just makes you want to get off the four lane and find a nice quiet dirt road to get there. Because when Joe Biden starts telling me he has always been in favor of stopping illegal immigration, and Donald Trump starts being nice and polite to everybody, then something, somewhere is about to come loose, and it makes me think of another 1958 game show called “I’ve Got a Secret”.