"Jeopardising Myself"


There are very few people I would willingly use Microsoft Internet Explorer for, and Alex Trebek is one of them. Yes, it’s time for the almost-annual Jeopardy! online contestant test, you’re not supposed to use Firefox to take it, and I’m going to take it in less than an hour (If you’re a Quiz Kid in the Eastern or Central timezones, you’ve had your chance… now it’s time for us Pacific Pacifists to get pre-quizzed). Now, I really have no intention to trek to Sony Studios and attempt to follow in the footsteps of Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, but I just have to know something. You see, when I developed a case of Clinical Depression years ago, my memory and concentration took a beating. And the medication that helps me get out of bed every day hasn’t made me feel any smarter. And just over 20 years ago, I tried out for the Big J. At that time, it was all held in the studio where they did the show. First, the 100 people who had gotten the Golden Tickets after writing in to apply were seated in the Official Jeopardy! Studio Audience and given a sit-down test of 50 tough multiple-choice questions (none of that ‘answer in the form of a question’ gimmick, just a straight test). Then we all sat around almost talking to each other until the results came in and 9 of the 100 were ‘called on down’ for the next step in the audition. And yes, I was part of that Top 9 Percent… The 91st Percentile and I was totally thrilled. I was put into the second of three groups of three to do ‘the mock game’. Even though it was on the floor of the actual show’s set, we did not stand at the contestants’ podium and see the clues on the bank of TV screens. But we were given buzzers that worked just like on the show, and that was where I blew it… big time. Incredibly, after years and years of watching the show, I had never realized how the ‘lock-out’ buzzers worked. The contestant wranglers ‘reminded’ us that if any of us buzzed in before the end of the reading of the question, we’d be ‘locked out’. The look of a deer in the headlights washed over my face, because as a participating viewer, I was always so proud of my ability to shout the correct answer at the screen before Alex read the whole question, and now, that skill was going to work against me? Yeah, it did. I came in an unofficial third among the three players in that round of the mock game (they didn’t keep score, but I knew I’d gotten the least correct answers) and if they were screening for personality, that ‘deer in the headlights’ look worked against me too. We were told that some of us would be called back in a couple weeks, and some may be called back later in the season, but I knew they’d never call. I’d had enough disastrous first dates where the lady says “I’ll call you” to know… they never called. And I never tried again.

Now, after two decades, I face a new Jeopardy! Contestant Test in a whole different arena – Cyberspace, and all I want to know is if I possess anywhere near the same smarts as back then, or is that chronic case of the ‘duhhhs’ that made my job performance nosedive five years ago (I had singlehandedly created most of my department’s systems – and I forgot how some of them work!) still keeping me out of that 91st Percentile.

Well, this is a good sign. I haven’t forgotten my on-line appointment or taken an ill-timed nap and slept through it (things I’ve done more than once recently). And writing this blog entry has kept me busy right up to 15 minutes before Log-In Time. Now, a little bathroom break to avoid any ‘accidents’ during the quiz, a refill of high-octane caffeine juice to keep me from getting sleepy and I’ll be ready for you Trebek. And unlike the in-person audition where we got to see but not touch the set, I expect a real Jeopardy! experience. And I won’t get my buzzer locked out. No way.

UPDATE: It took 12-and-a-half minutes (15 seconds for each of 50 questions) for me to prove conclusively that I have become an idiot. No need to get an official score from Jeopardy! central… I went totally blank, not a clue, on 5 of the first 10 questions, at least 20 of the total 50… (I actually lost count) And a half-dozen times in the 50 questions I went “I know that one, it’s… it’s… it’s…” (I forgot Chesapeake Bay, George Lopez and Robert The Only Freaking Scottish Poet Anybody Ever Asks About Burns! Nothing like a nice intellectual ego-smackdown to help clear the mind. And my mind is clear. As in empty.

1 Comment (so far) about

"Jeopardising Myself"

  1. M.B. Says:

    Sorry to hear you didn’t do well… 🙁

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