Turn out the lights, the party’s over. What began with a “oh fuck, why not?” phone call turned into a once in a lifetime journey that spanned three months, yet somehow took up seven months of blog time. Look at the date on that first post in this series… April 11th. Not even I knew on that early Spring day that it would be three seasons and 32 weeks later when I would finally type up the final entry in this crazy storytelling project I undertook only because I ran out of Flashback Friday ideas. How in the hell did I milk this game show tale for over 50,000 words and even more pathetic attempts at humor?
I did not extend this story one final chapter to
brag pontificate over how long it ran… but to merely serve as an epilogue to the main plot, while also tying up a few loose ends and including some cool things I forgot. Like the fact that I was an unwitting pawn in an online contest…
No really… I made thousands of people (besides all of you reading this) boo and jeer me!
During the first few months of 2001, ABC ran an online contest based on a similar game that was a hit on their sporty sister ESPN’s website. It was called Hot Seat Draw 3, and each night the show aired, you could log in and get a random draw of three of the finalists (the carryover was also thrown into the mix) along with three ways each of those contestants could score points for you. Since all of the ways to score points involved at the very least making it to the Hot Seat, anyone who drew my card had no chance of winning the valuable prize of a TiVo for accumulating the highest nightly score. To make it up to those people who still curse my name to this day, here’s a potential draw of my card that would have given them much better odds:
They even took special photos of us in the Ring prior to the taping to use for their HSD3 profiles. Do I still have the image of that HSD3 photo? Yep, thanks to a kind message board buddy to emailed it to me long, long ago. Am I gonna share it with you…. not a chance. It looks even worse than my on air intro still does. Given the number of unfortunate looking people that were on my show, I’m surprised our group’s foray into the world of fantasy game show leagues didn’t kill off the franchise…
Probably the most intriguing loose end that dangles over my prolonged tale of woe is whether or not Amy Turner’s incessant stalling in the Hot Seat, as well as the show’s unwillingness to edit the majority of it out, cost me a chance to fuck up a third fastest finger question. Despite only seeing eleven questions, Amy took up almost 25 minutes of the show’s 42 minutes and change of airtime…. or about 60% of the show was dedicated to her.
The key to unlocking this mystery lies in the fate of Kevin O’Neill, who finished off my show by making quick work of his first nine questions. If we could have squeezed another five, or perhaps even ten minutes of time into his run that was instead used to listen to Amy babble over fingernails and petty officers, would he have vacated the Hot Seat before the final horn sounded?
The answer is most likely no… because Kevin wound up seeing four more questions when he carried over to the next show, and not a single one of them went as quickly or smoothly as the nine we got to see him breeze through in the waning moments of my taping. He used his three lifelines, one a piece, on each of the next three questions before finally deciding he had 125,000 reasons to walk away from his $250,000 question that asked who the then poet laureate of the United States was. While I never saw that show to get an idea of the time it took Kevin to finish off his stack, I sincerely doubt it could have been crammed onto my show even if Amy had played a bit more smoothly. And after all, we got a huge break anyway in the way carryover Ed Toutant got prematurely ejected from the Hot Seat… so in a way, everything balanced out in the end. It just wasn’t meant to be…
Coming from a message board that was full of Millionaire wannabes at the time, I’ve seen many, many others walk the same path I did of making it all the way to New York only to leave with the Turtle Wax. To say that the experience didn’t sit all that well with a good number of those people would be an understatement. And I can certainly understand why it could cause bitterness… after all, I am positive I’d have won at least $32,000 had I not managed to brain fart on either of those two fastest finger questions. Though it’s no million bucks, that’s a lot of money to have so temptingly close only to see it vanish in a puff of smoke at the sound of a horn. And if I say I don’t still think about how that may have changed my life 13 years ago, it would be the biggest lie I’ve ever told on this blog.
But being one of the most self depreciating squirrels you’ll find has its benefits, and rather than be bitter and depressed over a once in a lifetime opportunity squandered, I have instead chosen to embrace what happened and just marvel over the fact that some insignificant moron like me was even a blip on the radar of one of the most highly rated game shows at the peak of its popularity. The entertaining tale that’s been told here every Friday for as long as you can remember could have never been spun by someone who only looked back on the misfortune through piss and vinegar glasses. Right off the bat, I decided to just let it go.
Besides, even coming home a loser still managed to turn me into somewhat of a local star. My co-workers at Mecca who were around when this all happened still tell the newer people that the
dictator guru of the paper goods and chemicals department was once on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. I can’t tell you how many times in the months after the show aired that customers after chewing me out over an out of stock recognized me and stopped to ask if I was the local guy they saw on Millionaire. I experienced deja vu of the celebrity phenomenon in 2004 when The Game Show Network (Now just GSN) picked up the original primetime episodes of Millionaire to add to its lineup. I’ll admit it was fun to have people pick me out in public as someone they saw on TV for the brief time that it lasted… but I’m extremely happy I don’t have to go through it every day like real celebrities do…
So could there ever be a repeat of the Millionaire Journey (Assuming there’d be enough time left in the universe to chronicle it, that is)? Well, despite the fact that I’m still not a fan of whoring myself out at an audition, I did attend two more local tryouts for the show… one in August 2001, and the other for the watered down syndicated version of Meredith Vieira Millionaire in October 2010. Given the quick brush off I got from both experiences, I gained an even greater appreciation for how lucky I was to slide through the original audition. And I also picked up this cool GTFO souvenir from the latter of those two complete wastes of time…
And….. well, there you have it folks. I promised you a recap of my experience on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and I gave you an epic novel that spanned over half of the year instead. I do hope you enjoyed it though, and were able to find joy in even the obscure tangents, pretty pictures, and totally predictable 168 hour cliffhangers I provided. For hanging in there with me for so long, I think you all deserve a special badge to commemorate making it all the way to the end of this cybermarathon without keeling over from old age….
And so there will be no more talk of lunulas or glowing potatoes. No more gagging over mystery meat and continental breakfasts. No more condemning shitty airlines and fleabag hotels that have since rightly gone out of business. No more caterpillars, curses, T-shirts or scary limo rides. No more babbling, stalling, show tune singing, or waiting until next Friday. And absolutely no more unsightly visuals of Regis trying to pronounce “Wynema” while taking a dump….
This is the end, my friends. The end of The Millionaire Journey.
Thanks for reading!
What am I going to do with my Fridays now? Can you try to get The Price is Right? Certainly your job has trained you on the prices of RiceARoni and Fabuloso?
I still have horrible flashbacks whenever I see Sparky. Between that and the end of this story, I will just be curled up in the corner for the rest of the day.
I should be great with what’s in my own department… assuming I can factor in the double whammy of lower Mecca prices and higher California prices. I’m not sure I’m crazy enough to be invited to come on down, though…
Back when the contest was going on, one of my long lost friends on this Bored said he recognized Sparky as a mascot for some kids Bible activity series he once did, so maybe that’s why he seems so creepy… while at the same time being so fun to corrupt.
It’s the Southern Baptist equivalent of a Scouting program. You had to learn the Pledge of Allegiance first, John 3:16 second, to earn “gems” for your vest. Why did you make me remember that? Evil!
I like when clueless college kids are on PiR for the grocery games. Yes, milk is 99 cents a gallon and Manwich mix is 4 dollars, bless your heart. lol
can we restart the evil squirrel millionaire tour, please? You are definitely NOT a loser, even with this friday posts you won a lot of fans and friends :o)
If I reposted the series weekly starting next Friday, it would end up running through the first week of June! That’s kinda scary to consider…
Winning fans and friends is better than a big ol’ fake check any day! Thanks Easy!
I’ve enjoyed every word and image of your [amazingly lengthy] Millionaire experience. You’re a winner to all of us lowly people who would never, ever get on the show. And I’m not just saying that because I get a special badge for my blog. My Fridays are going to be dull now that I don’t have your story to look forward to. Thanks for telling it.
I’m glad you enjoyed reading it! I’m going to have some Friday routine withdrawal as well since this became my late Thursday night ritual… but I do have an idea for my next Friday series, though I don’t think I’m going to start it until after the beginning of the year…
Fuzzy & I can’t wait to see what you do next. Sure it’ll be fun.
You should bundle this into an ebook and sell it!
As intriguing of an idea as that is, there’d be a few complications… like that fact that I’d never have the patience to properly edit the whole thing.. and not just my typos and all of the inside jokes, but it would need to be converted from serial form to more novel form. Plus, as is my style here, I do my best writing when I’m able to insert goofy pictures to move things along… and it’s no secret most of the non-cartoon images in this story aren’t mine!
I’ll settle for it being something that might hook a newcomer to my blog into becoming a full fledged reader. As mushy as this sounds, I appreciate the comments from people who said I gave them a much needed freebie laugh far more than I value the pittance of royalties I’ve earned through my online commercial ventures….
I think that’s the longest rejection I’ve ever received…
Any longer, and I would’ve had to throw a cartoon with a funny caption in it…
I like cartoons.
Awesome! I made it through your journey. Brilliant my evil friend – brilliant. XOXO – Bacon
Thank you Bacon! Now you know one of the true secrets to being evil…… keep making ’em wait!
I’m taking notes my friend – I’m taking notes 🙂 Evil snorts. XOXO – Bacon
Thank you for sharing your experience and making us laugh for the past 7 months. Friday won’t be the same and not in a good way.
Awwww, only I could somehow find a way to make Fridays less enjoyable for people!
I’ll return with a new Friday series sometime after the new year….
NOoooooooooo! It can’t be over!! That was so much FUN!!! So much happened in my little life over that time but Fridays remained constant. Oh sob, sob. ALSO loved and proud of you how you took it in your stride and didn’t get embittered. Getting on the show makes you a winner, the rest is gravy. I reckon you are a fair dinkum hero/winner and now I can claim to know someone who was on the show! Love the badge!
All good things must come to an end, so they say. I love how getting on this show had a secondary blessing in giving me this story, which kept a handful of people around the world enraptured for 7 months. That is almost worth the $32,000 I threw away….. almost! 🙂
And now … you have to find something else to write about. Your saga is told, the story finished. I’m crying for you, crocodile-like tears of sadness, sliding down my wrinkled old cheeks. Oh the horror, the horror of having to come up with another story line. Yet I have abiding faith. Faith that you will find your way, even (verily) through the valley of the shadows.
It’ll be okay, buddy. It’ll be okay.
I’ll get by somehow. In fact, I already know I’ll get by all day long in my bed Friday since I get to work the wonderful night/morning of that sale everyone talks about each year… so I won’t miss having to come up with Part 34 next week. I know what I want to do next on Fridays starting in January… it won’t be a story, but it should hopefully be my usual brand of irreverent entertainment…
It’s the end of an era 😦
I bet next Friday you surprise us all with the start of the epic story of when you were a contestant on “The Price is Right” 🙂
Yeah right. No more game show stories. And, as I noted above, Mecca’s taking next Friday from me, so I’ll be resting that day rather than posting. I’ll have something new on Fridays coming in 2015…
And you managed to escape any Federal game show cheating investigations! Seriously, this series rocked. You did good. Well done then, qualifying, and now, writing it in such an entertaining manner. :-0 Way to go ESN.
Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed it! Also, thanks for providing the visual that served as my closing gag. I will never, ever see Regis again without wondering if he needs to take a dump…
I will never forget that thought either, Bill. The Reg on his throne. 😮
I’m glad I’m very late in reading this final chapter – I wouldn’t have picked up on the “Frozen” reference when you originally posted this.
Thank you for sharing it with us and for being able to see the funny side of life, ES!
I only learned it myself over the summer when the song was on the Mecca CD.