My first test was back in 2000 or 2001 while I was in college. I had to drive 45 minutes to a mall, stand in line with a buddy of mine (he's the guy with the sports questions in that article) and his then-girlfriend for what seemed like an eternity. It may have only been 15 minutes, but when you're about to try out for a major production such as this, you have every right to be nervous. Right?
It didn't work out for me or my buddy or his girlfriend for that matter. We never made it on TV or met Alex Trebek. It just wasn't meant to be. On the way home, that long 45 minute drive back to campus, we discussed our tests. Each was different from the others. My most vivid memory of that trip was explaining to my fellow travelers the difficulty of a particular "Crossword Clue," now one of my favorite rounds to create for Louisville Trivia. It was a six-letter word. It started with "P." It was "Another word for a headrest." I explained how I stared at that clue. I drew nothing but blanks. No word came to me until finally, out of the blue, by some magical whim, I wrote "PODIUM."
Immediately, laughter erupted from the two people I had just shared this moment of weakness with, and now they were forming tears of utter joy because of my pain. One of them, it doesn't really matter which one, screamed out. "Pillow! Duh!!" From that day, that stupid clue has haunted me. And it all came back tonight.
The second time I took the Jeopardy! test was tonight, April 16, 2015. The setting couldn't have been more different. I'm now 13 years out of college. I'm married with two children. I still talk to my buddy fairly regularly, but I haven't seen him in at least a year. I didn't have to drive 45 minutes away to fill out a piece of paper. I simply walked to my basement office, logged onto my computer, and heard the famous Think Music as the last 30 seconds ticked down in front of me and the very first of 50 questions popped up. It was an easy one about Zelda Fitzgerald. Just last night I discussed F. Scott and Zelda with the crowd at The Bard's Town. This was going to be a cake walk. In fact, I'm fairly certain I got a majority of the first 31 questions correct. It wasn't until Clue #32 that history repeated itself.
|Damn you, Clue #32!|
I have to say, I'm actually pretty proud of my performance, though I doubt I'll be getting a call to move to the next round. I've come to terms with the fact that I may never be on Jeopardy!. I'm not upset. In fact, I'm quite the opposite. If only there was a word for that...