My latest outing on television game shows aired this week. I can now reveal, for those who didn't see Million Dollar Minute, that I am not a millionaire. Repeat, NOT a millionaire. I'm not even a few bucks richer. They gave me a box of chocolates - a nice gesture, but of course I don't eat sugar. It's moments like these that I realise how sugar driven the world is. Small rewards usually come in the form of sugar. Even an order of sock yarn arrived with a lollipop in the package the other day.
But I digress.
Watching the show was strangely nerve wracking, even though I knew the outcome. I think I was worried that my slow start would leave me looking like some dumb person who answered one question and it was about Versace. You know?
While there's lots I'm contractually bound not to talk about, I can say that game shows are a fascinating opportunity to examine a cross section of the community. A bunch of twelve or so strangers are flung together in the green room for hours on end. It's easy to spot the ones who are deadly serious about their purpose: they don't say a lot and when asked anything they are reticent. Being the extrovert that I am, I talk to everyone and find out as much as I can, meanwhile, there's a guy asleep on the couch (how did they remove the sleep lines before he went to air?)
With the daily newspapers at hand, I decided to lead the quizzes. This is a great way to test the mettle of the deadly serious ones. They can't help but reveal their knowledge. At this point I ask if anyone needs me to shut up. They laugh and the crew who is minding us says "no" in a "thank god you're here" kind of way. It's their job to sit in a room babysitting adults all day. They were terrific.
A television, tuned to the home network, plays in the corner. It's infomercial hour, so after ten minutes of that we're all ready to shoot the television. DVDs have been provided for our entertainment, as well as several jigsaw puzzles. No Scrabble set though. I choose a retrospective of the comedy show "Fast Forward" which proves to be a hit. We all marvel at the cleverness and the fact that much of the humour would not be allowed on television today (think Magda Subanski in black face!). Ages of fellow competitors were revealed as people in my age group could quote along with the skits and characters.
There were some formalities - rules, contracts etc - and the opportunity to practise on the buzzers and the touch screen. I was first in and happily got all five questions in the practise round correct. Julius, one of the other contestants, said my name was written down by everyone else when I got the question about the fennec fox correct . It's renowned for its large ears. Apparently. I fluked that one, but they didn't need to know that.
I was glad to have my knitting with me. It's always handy for passing the time when you have to just wait. Nothing else, just waiting. We were in a time vortex with nothing much happening, but immense anticipation in the air. Contestants would come back from their filming either jubilant at winning some money or devastated after losing their chance.
I will confess that I sledged the champ in between sessions. Nicely. But I did want to get under his skin and rattle him a bit. He was an air traffic controller and cool as a cucumber. Meanwhile, I was in some weird tunnel for the first round. It took ages for me to hear and process the question before I could even get around to pressing the buzzer. I gave myself a good talking to and things picked up from there.
In the end, I got the second last question wrong which locked me out for the next one (which I knew) and I was beaten by 15 points. The champ had bought 15 points earlier in the game. It was an exciting battle at the end. It would have been more exciting if it was me playing for $20,000, but that's life.
My next sit-com idea will be set in a the green room of a game show.
Have you won anything lately?