Sunday, May 23, 2004

WTTBAM Part Three

I can't imagine why, but some people have better things to do than watch a game show rerun on Friday night. Here's a synopsis of the questions they asked me for those of you who missed the re-telecast on GSN.

Questions four and five were easy and I breezed through them to the first milestone at 1000 dollars. At least now I'm out of bonehead territory. In the months preceding this moment, I played the on-line version of the game at Originally, I tried to save my three lifelines for the harder questions. This strategy failed in practice. More than once I exited before the 32,000 dollar milestone with life lines unused. So my strategy was this: Use the lifelines early if necessary, stay in the game, and make 32K the goal.

Fast forward to question seven where I burned the ask the audience lifeline on a Mr. Rogers question at 4k going for 8k. They wanted to know the order in which he does his little ritual at the beginning of the show. I had a notion, but played it safe and the audience was right, Mr. Rogers does put on his shoes after he puts on his sweater. Commercial break. After the break, and some happy chat with Regis and Dad, we get back to the game. Suddenly, the whole thing goes to hell. The question is about boxers and which of the four recently released an album of Spanish and English ballads. I didn't know it. I had no inkling. Not a clue. I sat there and thought and thought about it. I was going to have to use another life line.

Damn it. This was not a David Mehnert question either (he told me later he didn't know it). No way my wife would know (she didn't). I could call my sociology professor from DeVry (he knew), I could call my ex-boss at Audio Reader (she knew), or I could call my ex-work bud (he didn't know). Guess who I picked? Rob A. didn't have a clue either. As my 30 seconds on the phone with him expired, he apologized and I told him "that's okay". At least I was building some good will with the home viewers as my millionaire gravy train went down the joint. It was agony. I blew the last lifeline. It was the 50/50 and they took away two wrong answers. It was either Oscar De La Hoya or Julio Cesear Chavez. I said the hell with it. It ain't no fun to walk at 8k like the dude from the previous show. I closed my eyes, made a wish and guessed "De La Hoya". I was right! The studio audience went wild.

At 16k going for 32 with no lifelines left, another difficult poser appeared on my display. This time it was about the polling place for the electoral college. Another guess, state capitals over Washington D.C. and I made the 32k milestone. Regis was ecstatic.

At the break, I was visited in situ by the show's creator himself, Mr. Michael Davies. He came down from the booth to tell me that the previous segment was one of the best they'd experienced in a long, long time. It was suspenseful, emotional, and real. I considered it a great honor to meet him and was most grateful for his kind words.

Next up: 32k going for 64. I finally got one in my wheel-house. American military history is a strong area for me. Plus I have a map of the US on my cube wall at work. So when they asked me what state Custer's last stand took place in, I said, "Montana, final answer" without hesitation. Suddenly, I'm sitting on 64 thousand dollars with a big smile on my face.

At 64k going for 125k, It's a British history question about the restoration. Namely, what the hell is it? I bought an almanac to study in the hotel the night before the show. I scanned a history of the British monarchy among one of my topics. At one point, the monarchy was destroyed and a puritan named Cromwell took over. But it didn't last. I said to Regis, "Maybe today is my lucky day," and guessed "British Monarchy". I was right and 125k was mine.

125k going for 250k. It's an Olympic history question about what event wasn't in the ancient version. I didn't have a clue, or a life-line, or 93 thousand dollars to blow. So I recused myself at 125k and walked away. The answer was marathon.

You need 15 correct answers in a row for a million. I could only muster 12 in a row. I have no regrets, except the obvious. I still want to be a millionaire.

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