Well, by now you’ve seen the show, so you know how it all turned out. The good news was that my final score was $12,600. And that’s not bad at all. The bad news was that I lost. The good news was that I came in second, because the other two tied for first, which meant that I won $2000. The bad news is that I’ll never be able to compete again. I’d sure love another crack at it.
The good news was also that I had the first Daily Double. I bet a full $1000. The bad news was that when Alex gave the clue, I completely blanked. I think that if he’d added a picture, I would have been fine. The category was something about fish. Fishy words. The clue(which you saw) had to do with a mid-air body position. I felt like I stared at him much as if I were doing my own impression of a fish. Finally, the only think I could think of was. “What is a jackknife?”
“No, that’s wrong.”
Well, the commercial comes, and the producer comes over grinning. “Something’s going on over at the judge’s table,” she says. “They’re having a big discussion about jackknife. You might have lucked out.”
And what do you know? There is a fish called a jackknife. I was very proud of myself. When Alex told me I got the money back on air, I did not pull him across the podium and kiss him full on the mouth. (Answer: “What sent Alex Trebek screaming out into the streets of Culver City?”)
Oh, and you know that thing about ‘it’s all luck from here?’ Well, I can’t remember most of the categories. But I do remember this one. Amazing Andorra. What?! Andorra? The other contestants get the Congress of Vienna and freaking baseball and I get…Andorra?!! Hell, the Sony soundstage where we’re taping is bigger than freaking Andorra. What can you possibly say about it? Well, evidently that I didn’t know what language they speak there. (it begins with a C. I said Castillian. It was Catalan). (Of course it was.) What did I ever do to deserve this? I’ve saved lives. I’m kind to kittens. I brought my dead friend along for luck, and he can’t even help me remember what language they speak in a country the size of the average kilt?
And final jeopardy was a living example of the ‘It’s all about luck”. The category was English Monarchs. Okay. I know something about English Monarchs. Certainly a helluva lot more than I did before I started writing Regency romances. I think of the betting advice my first editor Lucia Macro gave me. “If you know the category, bet it all.” I bet all but $200. I mean, you never know. And when the answer came, I was right on it. This is the name of two men who were kings but never crowned. I wrote fast and sure(although I know it looks like worms are crawling across the screen). I could easily have won. Sadly, the answer was so easy that all three of us knew it. I really wouldn’t have minded a more obscure king. Or a more obscure question.
Of course, even before we got to that point, when I wrote down my bet, the producer comes up and hands me a piece of paper. “Is that your bet?” she asks. It was. It seemed that my pen had betrayed me again. I had to write it over. I’m never going to live that down in the family. I have this horrible feeling that they’re all going to show up for Thanksgiving with notes written in wobbly penmanship, just for me.
So I’ll wrap this all up tomorrow. But for now, I’ll reiterate a couple of things. Once you make it on, it is all about luck. But if you’ve ever wanted to be on the show, then take the on-line test. It’s free, and nobody has to know that you really might not know as much about Broadway musicals as you thought you did. I do. But I wasn’t asked. I was asked about Andorra(not that I’ll forever be bitter about that.”)