Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Who DOESN’T Want to Be a Millionaire?!! (Part 1: Initial Qualifying)




We're going to take a short break from the Disney discussion. For those who want more WDW, don't worry, I promise there's tons more coming!



Okay...first, let me put this disclaimer in that I am living proof that ANYTHING can happen!!! Every 5-6 months, I'll get a bunch of e-mails/phone calls or, more recently, messages via Facebook from people saying that they just saw me on TV. I immediately groan and think to myself, "Here we go again!" Every semester, the cat is somehow let out of the bag by someone in the class, and they beg me to bring in a copy of what happened long ago, one calm April night in 2001. You've never experienced embarrassment until you project yourself into a lecture hall, where the image is over 20 feet tall…your nose hairs look like part favors at that size!


Many people have yet to see my experience on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and have asked me to share what it was like. Here's the first installment of WWTBAM…




I have always been a trivia buff, and my mother has always tried to get me to try out for a game show to see what I can do. I always figured I'd try when I was middle-aged and probably end up on something like 'Win Ben Stein's Money.'

When 'Millionaire' first hit the airwaves, I fell in love with it and tried calling in a few times to qualify. For those who do not know the procedure back then, it involved answering a series of three questions similar to the "fastest finger" format. The questions became increasingly difficult as you progressed through them. I could never get that last question right. After about 5 days of trying, I gave up, content to watch the show and scream at the television when the contestants were having trouble (admit it, you do the same thing!).

School, work, and other commitments took over, and I was unable to watch the show much until the spring semester of 2001, when I had a couple nights off from class each week. The jackpot then was growing to nearly $2 million dollars, so I figured that I'd try to call in again just for fun. On my second day of calling, the magic hit...I finally got past the third question (a literary question, and I got it right!). I picked my choice of tape dates and a phone number to contact me in case I was randomly picked to make it to the next round. Apparently, around 2 million people call in every night to qualify, and approximately 50,000 people get all three questions right and pick a particular tape date per day...each day, the computer randomly picks 40 people to advance to the next round. Each tape date is available for 5 days, do, doing the math we get this: I had basically won the lottery in having the computer select me. Out of millions of people, I was now 1 of only 200 people vying for a shot to be on the show.

I jokingly told my wife I'd stay home from a home interior party "just in case Millionaire calls", not thinking I'd hear from the show. The phone rang, and someone claiming to be from 'Millionaire' hit me with a barrage of qualifying questions. I at first thought it was Sheri (my wife) and her friends joking around with me...until they started asking the questions. When Sheri got home from her party, she (as you could imagine) thought I was full of it when I showed her the information. I had made the semi-final round!!!!!


The next installment will chronicle the longest hour or so of my life…




1 comment:

*1L said...

You could kick Ben Stein's ass. And I love your wife, she couda wouda shouda soooo faked you out. THAT would've been awesome, except the story would be over...