Eileen’s Trip to @Jeopardy! Part Deux:

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Well, I must have spoken loudly enough at the try-outs. Fast forward to the 6th of July. A not-so-hot day(which explains my presence outside) in which I was spending time gardening over on the side of my house. Suddenly my husband is standing there with a big gin and tonic(and pickle) in his hand.
“I imagine you haven’t checked the answering machine yet,” he said, grinning.

I made a gesture to all the gardening equipment, not to mention the pile of weeds and grass I was sitting among. “Well, no. I’ve been out here.”

He nodded. “You might want to check your messages. There’s one from somebody named Julia…” I was busy running my mental Rolodex through my hdead for any Julia’s I might have forgotten to call back when he finished. “…from Jeopardy.”

Well, I wasn’t an ER nurse for nothing. I’m very cool in moments of high emotion. “Oh,” I said, nodding and looking around me at the unfinished business. “Okay. Well, I have plenty of time to call her. Let me…uh, clean up here, and I’ll be in.”

And so I calmly cleaned up my mess, put everything away,and strolled in to retrieve the message(still on my answering machine) and call Julia back. First, let me say that I”m envious. I think that has to be the coolest job on the planet. Her task all day is to call people to tell people they get to be on Jeopardy! I didn’t get to tell people nearly that cool of stuff where I worked.

Anyway, she delivered the news and then instructions,(i.e. travel arrangements–I pay for everything–schedules(be there August 12 for taping, possibly stay til the 13th if not on by then). They tape 5 shows 2 days a week. they have 15 people arrive each day to play. But before you get there, you have a mountain of paperwork to fill out(incuding a love note from the IRS and a questionnaire that is more detailed than my medical history). I answered questions, gave the obligatory story about how my mother and I used to watch Jeopardy together, and got off the phone. And then I scared cats and chased off rodents for a four mile radius with my scream. I was going to be on @Jeopardy!!

I’ll leave you with one final tidbit I learned. It’s easier to get into Harvard than it is to get onto Jeopardy. Every year 200,000 people sign up for the on-line test. 100,000 take it. Of those, 1200 are called for try-outs. Of those, 400 are called each year to appear. So I decided right then and there, that no matter what happened, I’d already notched this one off my bucket list(and I didn’t even know it had been on there).