july 19th, 2015
So the proper name of the show is Jeopardy! with the exclamation point but for the purposes of this post I'm going to un'italicize and depunctuate. This is to “increase readability” because writing about the show the proper way looks insane.
I made it to round two of Jeopardy auditions. What does this mean? It means I did well enough on the online test in January to get an in-person interview in Chicago + mock game + 50-question test. Then if I pass that, I'm in the pool to maybe get called to Los Angeles. Then if I'm in Los Angeles, I'm maybe going to be in the show. But, like, if someone has an incredible winning streak and there's less turnover than usual, I might get sent home instead.
Some stakes: regardless of how I do, I am not eligible to take another online test for 18 months. Which means I can't take the January 2016 test or the January 2017 test. What's up 2018. More stakes: if I'm on the show, I'm probably ineligible to be on it again for the rest of my life, barring a winning streak and eligibility for the Tournament of Champions. Probably not even if I become a popular media personality and a candidate for Celebrity Jeopardy. #squadgoals
Fact: everyone on Jeopardy is smart.
Fact: most people on Jeopardy lose at Jeopardy. Ultimately the great and powerful Ken Jennings is a Jeopardy loser.
Anyway so originally I was like, “gotta win! Can't be on the show unless I'm gonna win!!” And that attitude was fine and fun for years, before I got the email about this audition. But as I'm studying and working through old games, yeah no: barring some Slumdog Millionaire serendipity, there's no chance of being “prepared” for this the way I was prepared for tests in high school.
My new strategy in preparation: practice hand-eye-ear-mind coördination and discipline (buzzer). Become rock solid and undefeatable in the areas where I'm strong (Star Wars, Star Trek, US History, US Constitution, US Supreme Court, anagrams, wordplay). Learn more about the areas I'm interested in (Shakespeare, world history, anatomy, biology, chemistry, literature, popular music, the Bible (the Bible as a form of popular music)). Generate interest and some content knowledge in my weakest areas (sports).
I'm going to wear a white suit to the audition and my hair will be freshly purple. A week ago I was thinking I'd just dye it natural brown and avoid controversy. Fuck that!! I'll be clear that if a natural hair color is the deal‑maker, I'll gladly make that deal. But when I come in, I'm coming in as me. A practiced and prepared me with the 27 amendments on lock, who can draw a passable map of the United States from memory. But the unbroken purple me.
And then two weeks after the audition, I will marry Vlad Seghete. Nothing Jeopardy can offer me is better than that :)