Wednesday, January 28, 2009


In just about 6 minutes I am going to take the Jeopardy contestant exam.

I have wanted to do this for years. I used to tend bar at a little restaurant/sports bar in Greenwich Village called The Riviera Cafe. Neighborhood peeps and all the employees just called it The Riv. I worked all nights, except for Sunday during the day when I would tend bar down in the sports bar half of the restaurant during Sunday football. We had a NFL Sunday Ticket package and showed all the games at 1:00 and at 4:00 on about 15 TV's all over the room.

Hang on, one minute until the test ...



So in case you're wondering, the Jeopardy on-line contestant exam goes like this:

You register with your e-mail address and a password prior to the test. I had registered last week and then marked it down on my calendar. They administer the test on three different days in three different time zones, and while they encourage you to take it in your zone, you are free to take it on any one of the days. You can't take it more than once, and you do have to remember to allow for the time zone difference. Of course, if you can't figure that out, I assume you don't have much of a chance on the actual show.

You can log in up to 1/2 hour before the test begins, and you get a countdown clock. About 30 seconds before the test begins, the Jeopardy theme song starts to play, I assume to get you back if you've been distracted by porn.

The actual test is 50 questions in various categories (it helps if you read the category for clues) and you have 15 seconds to answer the question, submit your response or let time run out. 15 seconds goes by really really fast by the way, particularly if you are struggling to pull an answer out that you know but can't quite bring out to your frontal lobe. In my most frustrating example, it was a literary question about Upton Sinclair and US Food and Drug laws, the answer being "The Jungle". Although in retrospect, while I knew the subject matter I doubt I would have pulled "The Jungle" out of the bottom brain drawer if I had 30 whole seconds.

Anyway, I think I did all right. I'm no genius, but I have a surprising cross section of useless information floating around in my brain. I'm actually kind of happy that they don't ever give you any kind of score or a way to compare yourself to others. That would drive me crazy or make me really really sad. It seems the scores are tallied and you go in to a random file if you qualify. You then get randomly pulled from the random file to come out and audition live when they come to your city or a city nearest you, sometime in the next year.

So don't be looking for me to appear on Jeopardy any time soon, because the odds are not in my favor.

Oh, the rest of that Riv story was about how on the weeknights I would put Jeopardy on all the bar TV's and play against the show or whatever local drunks happened to arrive early for a Yankees game. Not at all interesting but I was just stalling for time.

No comments: