Friday, March 30, 2012

Jeopardy! the Audition (continued)

To read part 1 of "Jeopardy!", the Audition, click here.


It was 10:40AM. Why didn't my alarm go off? I pulled out my phone; it was indeed set to go off at 10:30 - 10:30PM ( can remember all manner of facts and figures and trivia, but you can't set a damned phone alarm...)

After a couple minutes, my heartbeat returned to normal, and I realized I still had plenty of time to get myself together. First order of business: De-funkifying my nasty breath. That hour of sleep had given me a case of the yuck-mouth, and combined with the leftover taste of chef's omelet (complete with onions and peppers and three kinds of cheeses), I knew I needed to freshen up - QUICK.

I made my way to the hotel gift shop, reached to grab a pack of Eclipse gum (damn, how did my hands get so ashy?), and then asked the cashier if they carried any lotion (geez, and look at my fingernails!) and nail clippers. I left the gift shop, headed to the nearest men's room, pulled my tie out of my jacket pocket, tied it (three times before I liked the knot), slathered my hands with lotion, clipped my nails (which would have been easier if I had done them BEFORE lotioning my hands), and as I walked out, popped three pieces of gum in my mouth, chewed the life out of them, then chewed on a couple more after that. There. Now I'm good to go...

With about a half an hour to go before audition time, Mike and I walked around to where the auditions were being held. Outside of the conference room there was a table, on which there was a can of "Jeopardy!" pens, a stack of applications, another stack of paper that had a space to write your name, followed by a series of lines numbered 1-50, and a stack of 8"x11" sheets of cardboard. I glanced off to one side and saw 3 people already filling out the application, so I grabbed one of everything and joined them.

I sat down, said my hellos, and joined in the conversation as I filled out my paperwork. Sitting with me were a retired professor from Blacksburg, VA (where Virginia Tech is located), a chemistry teacher from northern Virginia, and a graphic designer from Silver Spring, MD. As it got closer to 11:30, more and more people filed into this reception area. Although everyone was polite (and some were very friendly), two things stuck in my mind about them: #1, look at how these people are dressed! Is it possible to look more nerdy than this bunch? and #2 listen to them talking about past Jeopardy! winners, recent Final Jeopardy! answers, and Alex Trebek like they were Star Trek groupies or something. OMG, this is like GEEK CENTRAL! Look at these people! I'm waaaay cooler and dressed better, and just as smart! But then...

"And how about that Final Jeopardy! question from last night (a question that none of the contestants answered correctly)?" the graphic designer (a lumpy, dumpy 30-something guy wearing a drab grey shirt, an even more drab, severely faded, rumpled pair of what were once blue khaki-style pants and some beat-up hush puppies) asked. And a voice sounding like just mine came from out of what appeared to be my mouth, saying, "I know right? That was a tricky one, although I should've figured out from the clue that it was Fahrenheit 451." The others sitting around that table - the lumpy dumpy graphic designer; the matronly high school chemistry teacher with the awful blue and white flowered dress; the retired college professor, who would look good dressed in a Santa Suit at Christmastime, but in his green shirt, baggy brown corduroys, and taped up glasses, not so much; the young guy with the tinted glasses and scruffy beard, who looked like he was wearing his big brother's suit (to go with some beat down running shoes), and who, despite living in Tampa, Florida, bypassed the audition in Orlando so he could come to Philadelphia to visit some obscure museum that no one else had heard of; the guy who had gone to elementary school with a former big winner on the show, and who seemed to be both jealous of him and to have a huge man-crush on him; the approximately 6 foot tall, 90 pound lady with the droopy brown hair, and profoundly sad face, and who was auditioning for the third time - all smiled and nodded in agreement at my assessment, as if I was one of them.

And then I gasped "Oh my God, maybe I AM one of them! Maybe they're all looking at me in my suit and tie and thinking I'm the nerd! No wonder that restaurant manager was ignoring me and treating Mike like a movie star; he probably DID look like a star standing next to me..."




  1. Hi there! I'm Mike, the Silver Spring graphic designer from your audition. I was looking to see if callbacks for the show had begun and I stumbled onto your blog. I'm glad my charm and stylish good looks made such a great impression! :-) Good luck, I hope you get called back!

    1. Hey, Mike, I remember you (obviously)! Hey, man, no offense intended, I was just trying to tell a story. Actually, you DID have a certain charm about you :-)

      No call backs on this end yet. It certainly is a nerve wracking sort of thing to wait around this long for an answer, especially when you've got friends and family asking you about it every single time you see or talk to them.

    2. It's all good, Keith. I found it funny, to tell you the truth. Lord knows I've used vivid and descriptive words to describe some of the random people that pass through my life. You could have poked fun at worse things than my (admittedly rumpled) clothes and my lumpy-dumpyness.

      I'm glad that ultimately you enjoyed the conversation, and you felt welcomed and free to join in. Ultimately, that's what I drew from your blog post. That and your obsession with clothes. After I was invited to the audition, my mind was all-Jeopardy, all the time. I have other interests, I promise!

      You are actually a really good writer. I say this as a wannabe writer myself. If Jeopardy doesn't lead you to fame and fortune, maybe you can give book-writing a shot. All the best, --Mike

    3. Glad to hear it, Mike! I did indeed enjoy the conversation; there was a fascinating group of people in our session, and it was fun to find out about other potential contestants' jobs, interests, etc.

      I must admit to an obsession with clothes. It doesn't help that in my job doing hard core chemistry and metallurgy, I don't get to dress up, meaning I tend to overcompensate and get a little peacock-y when not on the job.

      As far as writing goes, I used to write quite a bit growing up, and then as I got married and had kids and such, I got away from doing so for a couple of decades. Lately, though, I've gotten the bug again, which has led to this blog (which I've fallen behind on a little), as well as a collection of mostly autobiographical short stories, which I would eventually like to figure out how to turn into one big novel.

  2. ...Wow....what a terribly judgmental jerk you appear to be.

    1. What did I say that was judgmental?

    2. Oh, but I did show the post to some of my friends and they got mad on my behalf. Sorry!

    3. I take it RaeAnn Roca is one of your friends? Sorry, RaeAnn, I wasn't trying to be judgmental. If you notice, the name of my blog is "The Angry Nerd", and in the "Jeopardy!" post, I touched on my geekiness in relationship to the other contestant candidates. I make no judgment against nerds and/or geeks; I AM one!