NEWTON, MA—In a solemn pledge to himself and the world, Kevin Wollersheim, the new owner of a complete Mama's Family video library, announced Monday that he will "never, ever again" shop the online auction house eBay while inebriated.
"Over the course of Saturday evening, Aug. 21, I drank two Jack and Cokes, somewhere in the vicinity of six to eight Icehouse beers, plus, I believe, at least one shot of Cuervo 1800 tequila," Wollersheim said at a press conference held in his apartment. "And, although I now have no memory of doing so, it is clear that I logged on to America Online and accessed eBay sometime before 2:28 a.m. early Sunday morning."
"During my visit to the eBay site," Wollersheim continued, his voice beginning to break, "for some reason known only to God, I entered a maximum bid of $300 in an auction for the entire episode run of the popular '80s situation comedy Mama's Family, starring Vicki Lawrence and Ken Berry."
"I won that auction," he added gravely.
The final sale price for the 44-tape set was $279.50, with shipping charges raising the total amount spent by the 33-year-old elementary-school teacher to $301.67. Wollersheim, who said he is "partway through the first episode," also received a copy of the 1981 made-for-TV movie Eunice, which preceded the sitcom.
"I was understandably stunned by my own actions on that fateful night," Wollersheim said, "yet I was bound by honor to pay in full for the tapes, if only to preserve my positive feedback rating."
Wollersheim has attempted to reconstruct the mental process which led to his excessively generous bid for item #114258855.
"I remember always liking that sketch where Tim Conway makes Harvey Korman crack up talking about the 'Siamese elephants,'" he said. "But that was on The Carol Burnett Show, before Mama's Family was ever a series. Maybe I was so drunk I didn't remember that, though."
Continued Wollersheim: "Or maybe it was because Debra Dunning, this girl I went to high school with, used to watch that show, and my 15-year reunion is coming up, so I somehow thought I'd impress her because I have every episode. But Debra's married, so even that doesn't make sense."
Though Wollersheim has been known to regret eBay purchases in the past, including a $65.50 "autographed" Carl Yastrzemski lithograph which turned out to bear a reproduced signature and a Japanese import Steely Dan CD that "turned out to be just a bunch of weird remixes," his recent acquisition is by far the most puzzling.
"Do you think I was so drunk that someone could have broken into my house, started up my computer and bid without me knowing it? No, that can't be. They wouldn't have had my password," said Wollersheim, whose money order for $301.67 was received Sunday by seller "bluebird27." "Did I mean to type in a bid of $30 and enter $300 by accident? But what would have made me bid even $30?"
Whatever the rationale for the purchase, Wollersheim insisted that appreciation of, or even nostalgia for, the program was not a factor.
"I hardly even remember the show," Wollersheim said. "I recall that Mama was a contestant on Family Feud once, and... that's it. I remember the Family Feud episode."
"Christ," he added, "I can't believe they made 130 goddamn episodes of that show. How many years is that? I'm gonna need a new cabinet."