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Work/Life: Everything I Needed To Know I Learned From Bob Barker

Ceo Dad’s Tuesday Tirade As I post this, we are in the final week of broadcasts in which Bob Barker will be seen as the host of “The Price is Right.” He taped his last show six days ago, and it will air Friday. Now, Mr. Barker is not a made-up person like me, CEO DAD, however he has appeared on television for 35 years, which makes him an honorary fictional character; someone through whom many millions of people have channeled their hopes, their dreams, and their ability to guess how much a can of spray-on cheese might set one back in the current economy.

Ceo Dad’s Tuesday Tirade

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As I post this, we are in the final week of broadcasts in which Bob Barker will be seen as the host of “The Price is Right.” He taped his last show six days ago, and it will air Friday. Now, Mr. Barker is not a made-up person like me, CEO DAD, however he has appeared on television for 35 years, which makes him an honorary fictional character; someone through whom many millions of people have channeled their hopes, their dreams, and their ability to guess how much a can of spray-on cheese might set one back in the current economy.

Granted, I can sit in silent judgment of human beings, since I simply wait on a drawing board all week to be given life by Tom Stern. But Tom often has the TV on during his creative dry spells (weekdays, 10 to 6), so I overhear a lot of what comes out of the idiot box. In fact, Tom was out of the room when the argument on the View between Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck shattered the drinking glasses. (Come to think of it, Rosie is also leaving her show mid-June. Hmm. Do I smell new host of America’s most popular daytime game show? She would certainly add a new dimension to Plinko.)

I digress. But you try juggling Bob Barker, Tom Stern and Rosie O’Donnell in one opening paragraph and see how far you get. The point is, when trying to balance one’s work and one’s home, it makes it difficult when, in your very home, the desire to score valuable merchandise has been presented as a normal part of your day since the days when you actually thought those wide lapels were fashionable. And let’s face it, on “The Price is Right,” people go absolutely bat guano bonkers over getting a refrigerator, and they practically need adult diapers if they win a car in the showcase. This is when we needed Bob to look at the camera and say “remember, folks, prize winners are responsible for all taxes.”

And what is the point of measuring a person’s worth by their knowledge of retail prices? At least on American Idol they have to be able to butcher a song. So, for those who work at home or are home during the day, just be careful. It may seem like you have the balance you seek, but the pull to commerce is never further than your entertainment center. And even though Barker has retired, the show will continue. And if the first item up for bids is a gallon of gas, I pity the fool who bids “one dollar.”

Just the same, a friendly television icon is retiring, and we wish him the best. And who among us can say they never got caught up in the drama of wondering whether Windex could possibly cost more than a can of beef stew?

Tom Stern is the founder of Stern Executive Search, creator of CEO Dad, the syndicated comic strip about executive dysfuntion, and author of and author of CEO Dad: How to Avoid Getting Fired by Your Family.

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