On Friday night, June 22, 2007, I was in a synagogue in Reston, Virginia enjoying a Shabbat dinner with my immediate and extended family for my niece’s Bat Mitzvah. My cell phone rang. I saw that the call was from the 310 area code in Los Angeles. I thought it was the Malibu Mom calling me. I answered the call and heard a bunch of static. I sprinted outside to get better reception. Then I heard, “Hi! This is Carina from Jeopardy! Am I speaking to Alto2?” Oh. My. G-d.
Corina proceeded to verify every bit of my personal information from the questionnaire I completed at my Jeopardy audition in May 2007: name, spelling, address, local Jeopardy station, etc. Midway through her dozens of questions, I asked Corina, “Does this mean what I think it does?” She replied, “Please wait until you’ve answered all my questions.” Aaah! Corina continued through her laundry list:
- Do you know anyone who works for your Sony Pictures Entertainment?
- Do you know anyone who works for the distribution company?
- Do you know anyone who works for ABC?
- Do you know anyone who works for NBC?
- Do you know anyone who works for CBS?
- Do you know anyone who works for your local affiliate?
- Have you ever been on a game show?
- Have you been on a game show in the last six months?
No, honey. What I wanted to say: I’m basically a suburban housewife and mother living in Southwest Florida. I don’t know anyone who works for anyone in California. Now, stop asking me all these damn questions and answer my one! What I did was politely reply to each and every one of those maddening interrogatories.
When she finally completed her due diligence, Corina finally stated, “We would like you to come to California to be a contestant on Jeopardy. Are you available at the end of July?” Yes, I am. I would ditch my kids and be on a plane tomorrow if you asked! Corina then gave me myriad details of when to come, what to wear, travel arrangements, etc. I am going to be taping shows on July 30-31, 2007. I do not know when the show(s) will air, but when I auditioned, they told us that shows taped in the beginning of the season should air approximately 6 weeks after they’re taped. I’m guessing September 2007.
I thanked Corina for the good news and walked back into the synagogue. I marched right over to WineGuy and said, “We’re going to Los Angeles at the end of July. I’m going to be on Jeopardy!” The boys jumped up and hugged me. The whole room exploded in congratulations and applause. I felt guilty, taking away attention from Niece L that night, but she was just as excited by the news. We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying Niece L’s Bat Mitzvah and celebrations. Word of my Jeopardy appearance spread around the congregation like an Everglades brushfire.
There are a million things to do now: What am I going to wear? When am I going to have time to shop for it? I need to lose a ton of weight before the end of July! Is the whole family going to California? What do I do about Moose, who is not old enough to attend the taping? Will my in-laws agree to watch him while the rest of us go to L.A.? Or, do I ask Malibu Mom to watch him I’m at the studio? When are we flying out there? Should we make a whole vacation of it or should I go with one or two good friends? My head is spinning.
Before I sign off today, I want to acknowledge The Mamas who must be watching over me in heaven. First there is my grandmother, who watched Jeopardy almost every night, according Aunt M-lyn. Next there is Mama S, my SIL’s mother; she was a lifelong fan of Jeopardy and all kinds of games. Finally and most importantly, is Mama E, BFF’s mother. Mama E was such a rabid Jeopardy fan that she would not answer her telephone while the show was on. Mama E was a brilliant woman, with whom I could discuss the esoteric points of any Jeopardy game. Mamas, don’t fail me now!