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I Tried Out For “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”… and All I Got Was A Pencil

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So my wife apparently thinks I am smart, even though I once confused liquid soap for olive oil while making a chicken dish. One day while online she signed me up to possibly try out for “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”. A few days later she got an e-mail back confirming the date and time I would take the test. Then she broke the news to me. Now I watch the show and get a lot of questions right, and who couldn’t use a million dollars? So I figured “Why not?. I’ll do it” That is until my wife gave me the itinerary for that fateful day. This is how it went. First, you have to get there at 9:30 a.m. and stand in line with a bunch of tourists who are excited that they soon will be in the same room as a real celebrity,  Meredith Viera!! We waited online for over an hour and a half. The whole time the shows’ “line manager” was keeping the crowd entertained with his “witty” remarks. The tourists seemed to enjoy his comments, but I, on the other hand, wished a giant  meteor would land on him, thus stopping him from speaking. Finally we are let in. Let the games begin! Yes, I said games with an “s” because you have to sit through the taping of 3 shows! Now here’s how they get you: you take the test, watch the 3 tapings, then at the very end tell you who passed the test. So I take the test, consisting of 3o multiple choice questions. There are only 5 that I’m not sure of, so I go back and answer them. I think I did very well. Maybe this will be worth it? Then comes the taping of the shows. Now, first of all, there is a comedian warming up the crowd before and after every show, even during the breaks. (Does he think we don’t know how to clap? Even babies know how to clap!) This guy is even more annoying than the line guy, so the whole time I was wishing two meteors would land  on him. At least that kept my mind off of the fact that each show, including wardrobe changes, was taking about an hour. Meredith Viera couldn’t have been nicer, the contestants  looked terrified and I needed food. Finally, the tapings were over and the names were announced. It was already after 3pm! There had to be 100 people who took the test. Only 6 names were called. As you could have guessed from the headline, mine wasn’t one of them. I was glad in a way. Those who passed  had to stay to meet with the producers. Me, I was a free man, able to walk the streets of the Upper West Side and enjoy the fresh air and the company of my fellow New Yorkers. But I did come away with this story to tell and the pencil they let us keep. It was the one we took the test with. Engraved on it are the words “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. It is not even a full-size pencil. It’s one of those miniature golf-type little pencils. Regardless, I will treasure it forever…if I remember where I put it.

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