Readings — From the May 2007 issue
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From the January 12 airing of Morning Rave on KDND 107.9 FM, a radio station in Sacramento, California, that bills itself as The End. The program held a contest, “Hold Your Wee for a Wii,” in which eighteen contestants were asked to drink large quantities of water without urinating or vomiting in order to win a Nintendo Wii video-game console, which retails for $250. Jennifer Strange, a twenty-eight-year-old mother of three, agreed to accept second prize, a pair of tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert, after all but one other contestant had been eliminated. After taking the day off work, she was found dead at her home, reportedly of water intoxication. KDND canceled Morning Rave and fired ten employees, including the on-air personalities Lukas, Maney, Fester, Carter, and Trish. Portions of the broadcast were released by the Sacramento Bee.
Lukas: How much water you think you can drink before you have to wee? We’re gonna be drinking ’til like—
Fester: I did like two gallons, I think.
All: Two gallons!
Lukas: Aw, dude—
Trish: Can’t you get water poisoning and, like, die?
Lukas: [Laughing] Your body is 98 percent water, why can’t you take in as much water as you want?
Trish: I don’t know—
Fester: How much did he drink, that poor kid in college?
Lukas: Yeah, well, he was doing other things.
Trish: Maybe we should have researched this beforehand.
Fester: Next thing you know, I break out in hives, and I’m in an ambulance.
Lukas: If it gets dangerous for somebody, their body will automatically throw it up. And if you throw up the water, you’re out of the contest.
Eva, a caller: Those people that are drinking all that water can get sick and possibly die from water intoxication.
Lukas: Yeah, we’re aware of that.
Maney: They signed releases, so we’re not responsible. It’s okay.
Lukas: And if they get to the point where they have to throw up, they’re going to throw up, and they’re out of the contest before they die. So that’s good, right?
Eva: Aw, that’s mean! I suppose so.
Lukas: How come you guys didn’t do it?
Eva: Because we don’t want to die.
Lukas: Oh, okay. Let me ask Carter if anybody’s dying. Hey Carter, is anybody dying in there?
Carter: Uh, we got a guy who’s just about to die.
Maney: Oh, good, make sure he signs the release!
Lukas: I like that we laugh at that. Get the insurance on that, please!
Lukas: Right down to the final two! Oh, my. Two people puked. One person watched the other person puke, and there was a chain reaction.
Carter: I can’t hear you guys. It’s chaos in here. Come over here, ladies. It’s two chicks.
Jennifer strange: Hello?
Lukas: Hi, who’s this?
Lukas: Congratulations on making it to the final two. How are you feeling?
Strange: I don’t have to go pee, but my stomach is, like, really, really full.
Lukas: Is it all the way back up to your neck?
Strange: It looks like I’m pregnant again. It’s pretty funny, I’m kind of entertained.
Maney: How much longer do you think you could go, Jennifer?
Strange: Um, I think as long as my stomach will continue to let me. Maybe a couple more bottles.
Lukas: Jennifer, what’s the situation about Justin Timberlake tonight?
Strange: I don’t want to—I want the Wii.
Lukas: You do want the Wii?
Strange: I was tempted. I was really, really tempted, and everyone’s gonna hate me forever.
Carter: I got a pair of tickets, lower level, Justin Timberlake 2007 FutureSex Love show live, Arco Arena, tonight, and I will throw them away if you do not want to take them.
Strange: He’s gonna throw ’em away if I don’t take ’em.
Lukas: Trust me, we’re not gonna throw ’em away.
Strange: I’m gonna have to say—
Strange: God, this really sucks.
Strange: No deal.
Lukas: No deal!
Lukas: Jennifer, I heard you’re not doing too well.
Strange: My head hurts. They keep telling me that it’s the water, that it’ll tell my head to hurt, and then it’ll make me puke.
Lukas: Who told you that, the intern?
Strange: Yeah. It hurts, but it makes you feel light-headed, so I’m not sure if I’m just, like—
Lukas: This is what it feels like when you’re drowning. There’s a lot of water inside you!
Strange: Oh, it hurts.
Lukas: We want to get you out of your misery. We would like to offer you again, one more time, and the last time, Justin Timberlake tickets for tonight because it seems like Lucy has a big bladder and she’s not going anywhere.
Strange: You know, they laughed at me for turning them down the first time, so I’m not gonna turn them down again, I’ll take ’em.
Lukas: All right, bring ’em in. Bring everybody in. Jennifer is gonna take it.
Lukas: Aw, she looks sick. [Laughs.] Oh my gosh, look at her belly! Are you pregnant?
Trish: No, she said it looks like her belly when she was pregnant! Look, it’s totally sticking out!
Lukas: Oh my gosh, look at that belly!
Trish: That is so funny!
Lukas: That’s full of water!
Trish: You look probably three months pregnant.
Unidentified: She’s a mother of three.
Trish: I know, she’s a little tiny thing, too!
Lukas: Come on over, Jennifer. You okay? You want to lie down?
Trish: She can’t even walk.
Lukas: You gonna pass out? Too much water?
Strange: I could probably drink more if you guys could pick me up.
Unidentified: Give her another bottle!
Strange: You want me to?
Strange: What could I get?
Lukas: No, I don’t think so. Well, you’re going to Justin Timberlake tonight.