One of the more interesting objects lugged out from the closet on that bizarre US game show The Price Is Right. When I was 7 or so, I tried to watch the show as often as possible. I didn't bid on items, I didn't try to guess the prices of toothpaste and bleach, and I sure didn't laugh at Bob Barker's jokes. I just wanted to see Plinko.

Prior to actually playing Plinko, the contestant would have to earn some Plinko discs. The host would present him or her with a pair of household objects, and the contestant would have to guess which one had the higher "retail price". If the contestant was right, s/he received a disc. If not, s/he wouldn't. This was repeated a few times.

Then the lucky person would get to climb up onto a little step-stool, and drop the disc into the Plinko board. The board itself was a bit like an air hockey table, set up vertically, with toothpicks sticking out of all the holes and a row of slots at the bottom. The slots had money markings on them, in different colors.

When the contestant was all positioned and everything, s/he would let go of the disc, and it would bounce around in the nails, doing this very entertaining herky-jerky dance on its way down to the bottom. The camera men would usually cooperate by providing great pans and views of the disc and board, and they even had a special microphone to pick up all the plinking sounds. The disc would slide into a slot at the bottom, and the lucky contestant would win some money. If they had more discs, they could do it again, otherwise, Bob showed them the door. I always thought that if I ever got to go on the show, I would bring some extra discs with me, so I could play more than three rounds. Later, I realized that they probably have a rule about that.

I tried to build my own Plinko board a couple of times, but without any success. My failure was probably due to the thickness of my crayons messing up my schematic diagrams. Also, in those days I maybe had a dime or two, to buy gumballs. The idea didn't even occur to me to go to the store and buy a board, some nails, and some Silly Putty or something to make the Plinko discs out of. So I tried to make my board out of things that were lying around. The toothpicks we had didn't fit into the holes on our dilapidated air hockey table. My brother and I tried some different things, but we always got distracted playing air hockey. I never got up the nerve to ask for one for Christmas, either. Maybe I could build one now that I'm all grown up, but I have too much to do.