Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bachelor Number 1

Back in 1978, a woman named Cheryl Bradshaw was on the TV game show "The Dating Game."  For those of you who are younger than I, this show entailed a "bachelorette" interviewing three eligible bachelors whom she could not see.  At the end, she picked one to go out with.  Cheryl Bradshaw picked bachelor number 1, although reports indicate she didn't go out with him.  It turns out that he already had a felony conviction for raping an 8 year-old girl (something, one presumes, that Bradshaw didn't think to ask about on the show).  The year after his appearance, he embarked on a career as a serial killer, murdering four women and a girl.  The closing arguments in the penalty phase of his trial were today.

The "Dating Game" angle to this story came to light because one of the other bachelors came forward to share his recollections of bachelor number 1.  He refers to him as "creepy" and says there was something about him, even then, that made him want to get away.  It's hard to know how much of that reaction was real 32 years ago and how much is a projection based on current knowledge.  It's also hard to know whether the other bachelor is motivated purely by what he perceives as newsworthy information or by self-promotion.

The person I'd really like to hear from, however, is Cheryl Bradshaw.  News reports indicate that she refused to go out with the bachelor she picked, and I'm guessing she's pretty glad about that now.  She had a brush with death 32 years ago without knowing it. 

We all make choices every day that affect the outcome of our lives.  It's not at all unusual to look back at past romantic interests and wonder what might have been different had you made a different choice.  I have a cousin who, in her college days, turned down a fellow student named Barry Obama for a date.  Imagine the possibilities.

In fact, it's impossible to know what might have been.  Had my cousin made a different choice, she might be first lady today.  She might also have gone out with him once and decided he wasn't for her.  Or he could have, with a different choice of mate, gone in a totally different direction with his career, never entering politics at all.

The same uncertainty exists for Bradshaw.  If she had gone out with bachelor number 1, she might be dead.  She might have entered a life of crime herself.  She might have left it at one date and it would have made no difference.  He might have mended his ways.  We will never know, and there isn't a whole lot of point in speculating. 

I can only imagine, however, that learning what this man went on to do has given her a little bit of pause, and I think we can all forgive her for thinking about what might have been, no matter how pointless it may be.  Her connection to this man has to at least give her a passing shiver.


Peacenik said...

I believe Ms. Bradshaw is now deceased. www.maricopa.edu/diversityinfusion/memorial.htm

It looks like she went on to do a lot of good in the world.

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