[Image from Jeopardy.com, may their hits increase!]
As I write this, I am awaiting the start of the on-line version of the test to qualify for Jeopardy. As you read this, who the hell knows?
I've been down this road before. I've taken the on-line test twice. I've been administered the test live and in-person once. I may have passed the on-line test before, but I don't know for sure. They don't tell you whether or not you passed when you take the on-line version of it. I know I flunked the live test. They tell you how you did on that one. They don't give you your score, but they tell you if you passed. I didn't. The number I recall being mentioned by somebody as that needed to pass was 37 correct answers from among the 50 questions given. Whatever the passing score was then, near as I could figure, in going over the test in my mind afterward, I blew it via one incorrect answer.
That still irks me. I know for a fact the answer was Albany, as in the capital of New York. It was a question regarding the Hudson River. I answered something like Newark, New Jersey. Albany seemed too obvious. I basically out-thought myself. I made the test harder than it was, and I blew it.
Using the in-person scoring as a guideline for what constitutes pass/fail scoring on the on-line version, I tend to believe I've passed the on-line test at least once before. Unfortunately, just passing the test does not guarantee anything. Unless they call you and invite you for further testing, including a personality interview, you've basically accomplished nothing of importance.
Still, I want very badly to pass the test, and to know for sure that I did so. It would do my ego a world of good, even if they never choose me to be on the show. The Jeopardy test is a decent challenge, unlike the one for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. I tried out for that show, and passed the test. Let me tell you about NOT being a contestant...
[I've already told some of you about this. If you've been here for a few years, you might have read this when I originally published it. Too bad. I love you and all, but you've come this far, so you may as well read it again. It's full of funny! And have you got anything better to do? No! If you did, you wouldn't be reading me in the first place.]
[Image of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire logo from the official website of the game.]
Auditions were held in New York, so I traveled there at my own expense to compete. The audition itself was a simple process. We were checked in by staff and then handed a sealed envelope containing the written test. After being seated, we were given some instructions concerning the filling out of answers on a separate form, and then we were allowed to open the envelopes and begin the test.
The test consisted of thirty questions, multiple choice, and we were given ten minutes to complete it. If I passed, it was on to the personality interview. There someone would decide if I was personable enough to make a national television audience want to root for me. Or perhaps decide that I was a blowhard psychopath. In the interest of fairness to ABC, as well as future contestants, I won’t give you any of the actual questions. However, they were mostly of this caliber:
What do you use to drain your spaghetti after cooking?
A – A Colander
B – A Calendar
C – A Tennis Racket
D – Your Hands
Well, OK, it wasn’t quite that stupid, but it wasn’t MENSA stuff, either. A particularly bright ten-year-old would have had a decent shot at it. And – getting back to the personality thing - I didn’t stand up in the middle of the test and shout, "I came all the way to New York to take this fucking idiotic test? Why didn’t you just grab all the people off of the first short bus you saw passing by and save me the trouble?" I filled out the test paper as instructed and, in the approximately six minutes I had remaining after doing so, I re-checked my answers, making sure I hadn’t drooled on the form or anything else which might have been off-putting to the judges.
The tests were very quickly graded and then we were told which of us should stay for an interview and which should go home. We had been given numbers with our tests. I was number 12. They called out the numbers of those who passed the test:
"193... 78... 126... 12..."
Yes! I passed the written test!
After being informed that I'd passed – I’d estimate that 1 in 8 of those tested did so – I had my picture taken. I smiled nicely. I was very pleased with the photo, too. I don’t think I photograph particularly well, but this one was a winner. I looked reasonably intelligent, somewhat friendly, and I had no hanging boogers in my nose. So far, so good.
Then it was on to the personality interview, wherein it appears they concluded I was a blowhard psychopath. I received this postcard from the production staff about two weeks after my trip to New York.
Given the result, you might think I had answered the interviewer’s questions in the following manner:
Interviewer: Hi, Jim! I’m Debbie.
Me: Debbie? Hah! Are you the one who did Dallas? Hah-hah!
Interviewer: What do you do for a living, Jim?
Me: I disembowel rabid weasels.
Interviewer: That must be fun!
Me: Not if you’re the rabid weasel.
Interviewer: What’s the first thing you’ll do if you win a million dollars?
Me: Give it to Al-Qeada. Either that or I’ll rent out a roomful of whores and snort massive amounts of cocaine off of their asses until I die.
Interviewer: What sorts of hobbies do you enjoy, Jim?
Me: I thought I made that clear with my previous answer. Wow, you’re really thick!
Interviewer: Well, it’s been nice talking to you, Jim. We’ll let you know in a few weeks whether or not you’ll be placed in the contestant pool.
Me: Like I give a shit, sister. Hey, what are you doing later tonight? Would you mind if I snorted some cocaine off of your ass?
The interviewer’s questions really were like those above, but I didn’t give hideously inappropriate answers. I was nice. I wasn't threatening. I thought I was at least fairly humorous. Maybe the swastika I painted on my forehead was a bit too much. I thought it was a nice homey touch, but you never can tell what’s going to turn some people off these days.
Truthfully, I don’t know for sure what I did to not be chosen. They don't tell you why they decided not to use you. Here's some conjecture.
Since the time of my testing, I’ve talked to a few other people who passed the written exam and who also were not invited to appear on the show. They are, without exception, nice people possessed of a higher-than-average intelligence. And I hope this isn’t too self-serving, but I think that’s the problem. I think the producers aren't looking for the highly intelligent. I have a feeling that what they really want are the reasonably intelligent – those who know how much two plus two is, but not necessarily what someone might do with that information - combined with a type of perky which I, unfortunately, never have been.
Hey, it’s a TV show. I know what they’re trying to do is appeal to the widest possible audience and, just because they decided not to use me, I don’t need to feel like it’s some sort of personal insult. Luckily for me, as a voice-over talent, I work in a subjective business. I know what it’s like to be rejected for reasons having nothing to do with intelligence, talent, or personality. Sometimes, what you’ve got simply is not what someone else needs or wants. I’ve had ample opportunity to get used to being passed over in a like fashion, and I know how to deal with it like an adult.
And now, here I am testing for another shot at fame and fortune via the game show route. If I pass the test and somehow get on the show - that is, if the Jeopardy staff decides an appearance by me on the country's TV screens won't constitute a threat to the moral health of the nation - I'll give a shout out to each and every one of you, one per show. Since I have 517 followers, that means you can expect to see me on Jeopardy for the next two years straight, and I'll win about $12,000,000.
Damn. I hope I pass this test.
Soon, with more better stuff.