It’s Friday! YAY for you, and boo for me since I go back to work tonight. But hey, that means it’s time for the next installment of my Millionaire Journey series! Did you miss my first post in the saga? You did? Lucky for you, it’s in reruns now. You can find Part 1 here. Go ahead and read it… don’t worry, the rest of the class will patiently wait for you to catch up…
OK, so when we last left our story, I took the chance and broke through the show’s hotline to get one of the handful of reservations to the morning audition in St. Louis. I had a mere two weeks to let it sink in that I had essentially just committed myself to attending a game show audition. An audition that, per the recorded voice on the telephone, was looking for three things in potential contestants….
Now those of you who follow this blog will know that I’ve got the last criterion covered pretty well… at least when I’m in a comfortable environment. Poise? Epileptic possums have more poise and control than I do. Television presence???? From someone who doesn’t even like to have their picture taken??? Ummm, this looks like a lost cause before I even show up at the door!
And speaking of showing up at the door… what in the hell am I going to wear to this thing? I don’t do anything fancier than jeans and my collared polo-style shirts, which make up exactly 100% of my wardrobe. I don’t think it’s going to wow anyone if I show up looking like I had just finished toiling the night away at Mecca…. ummm….
Yeah, since the audition is on a Saturday morning exactly two hours after quitting time at Mecca, it looks like I’m going to look and feel like hell for the audition anyway. This is starting to really, really seem like a terrible idea. I don’t know why I’m even going to go through with it…. but I am.
So Saturday November 4th arrived. The first thing I needed to go my way came to pass… we actually got off work on time that morning. Back in those days, just because we were scheduled to get off work at 7 AM didn’t mean we were leaving at 7 AM. Us night shifters were expected to stay until the job was done. Getting an hour or two of overtime a week was not all that unusual.
But even with that break, time was still not on my side. It was made crystal clear in the instructions on the phone that nobody would be admitted to the audition any later than 15 minutes before it started. The audition was at the Sheraton Inn in Clayton, a suburb of St. Louis that was about a 25 minute drive from where I lived. There was no time to take a relaxing bath… I just had to get the Mecca dirt out of my tail and run.
Since my Dad is more familiar with the area west of St. Louis, I allowed him to drive me to the audition. I made it to the registration line with 10 minutes to spare. I showed them my drivers license and social security card to verify the information I punched in on the phone, and was handed all of the tools I’d need for filling out the contestant profile form they handed me.
What kind of supplies does the most popular show on primetime television have on hand for its auditions, you might ask? One of those technology gone horribly wrong mechanical lead pencils that are a bitch to use, and a thin piece of cardboard slab about the size of a standard sheet of paper. I kid you not… a fucking piece of cardboard to write on.
I was also given a ticket. No, not a golden ticket like they give out on American Idol… there was absolutely nothing fancy at all about this ticket. You can buy a whole roll of them at Mecca for a couple bucks, and they’d look better than the flimsy, generic stub that would brand me for the next couple hours as simply “Number 80”.
The producers who were running this audition spared absolutely no expense when it came to making this tryout as professional and comfortable as possible for its attendees. Walking into the testing room revealed row after row of tightly spaced metal folding chairs with a narrow aisle separating the room in two halves. It looked like an assembly in the gym of my old grade school, which was built in 1910 and hadn’t changed much in the 70 years that had passed before I attended there. So we’re going to be jammed in like sardines trying to fill out a scantron sheet sitting on a piece of cardboard in our laps while using the pencils they supply at the front desk in Hell.
I found myself a seat in one of the rows that was still fairly unoccupied and steeled myself to fill out the profile form with the archaic writing supplies the crew stole from the dumpster behind the hotel. Personal information…. sure, no problem. They already know my name, date of birth, and social security number, so why not give them more details to apply for credit in my name so Regis can buy more shiny ties. Have I appeared on any game show in the past year… ha! That’s funny. I can’t believe I’m even here trying out for this one you’re putting on, thank you very much. Education and occupation… yeah, I’m a college graduate working my life away as a pawn at Mecca. How’s that for standing out from the crowd?
Name five interesting things about yourself….. oh shit! I was afraid of this!
There was nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING about my life, or that happened in my life that was the least bit interesting to anyone but me. It’s the game show kiss of death to not have an anecdote or two for the host to chat about with you while you sweat out the next spin of the wheel. I don’t think I filled out even one line, let alone all five. Yep, this thing was OVAH before it even started…
But I’m here in this crowded audition room instead of at home sleeping, so I may as well go through with it….
And I’ll get into the blood and guts of that fateful audition next week! Until next time, boys and squirrels!