So I tried out.
I’d planned to write about this live, but the idea of lugging my laptop to this college, connecting to their wi-fi, hassling with a battery…it just seemed a bit much.
But, here it is, my unlive, live account of my day.
10:02 a.m.- I arrive at Montgomery College. There are 17 people here. One thousand are allowed to try out, and try outs begin at 2 p.m. I may be a bit early.
10:13 a.m.- Direct quote from man sitting across lobby from me: “One day there will be pens like laser printers. You will just be able to drag them across the paper and they’ll print words.” This man also later claimed that calligraphy will become the “new, old style of handwriting.” He, I think, was crazy.
10:39 a.m.- Remember that Alex Trebek is the grand marshal of the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Wonder if he’ll show up unexpectedly and middle-aged women will throw their bras at him. ( 2:45 p.m.-He does not, and they do not)
10:44 a.m.- Some guy seems to be studying with laser printer/ calligraphy man for some sort of embassy/ State department interview. I don’t think he’s going to get the job. He has very tiny hands. Those two thoughts are separate, but I suppose it could be a negative factor in the hiring process if he plans on being some sort of diplomat/ hand model/assassin.
10:46 a.m.- Man in suit sits down two tables over from me. Opens briefcase. Removes stack of textbooks, two entitled “Basic Turkmen.” Either this guy speaks Turkmen or he’s wicked good at intimidating people. Either way, it worked.
11:00 a.m.- A man in his mid-fifties shows up in a blazer, with a gray ponytail down to his mid-back. I immediately think of Tim Robbins’ character in “High Fidelity” and laugh.
11:16 a.m.- Room is beginning to fill up. Maybe 50 people now. I got here way too early.
11:30 a.m.- Eat bag of generic apple cinnamon cheerios. Wonder why I didn’t splurge for the name brand, since these taste like absolute garbage.
Somewhere between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.- We all move into a large auditorium area. At this point I’ve picked up my friends Sebastian, Kristy, Bear and Stephanie. It’s like the Lord of the Rings, except there are no midgets. (Side bar- There were no midgets at the entire event, though a high percentage of people were in wheelchairs. Sebastian has a theory about said high percentage. I will not reprint it.)
12:45 p.m.- Guy walks past us in the auditorium with a Scrabble board. He must be unfamiliar with the concept of Jeopardy.
1:15 p.m.- College-aged kid in Hollister sweatshirt fills his lip with dip and proceeds to spit away in an Arizona Sweet Tea bottle. Seems to not think it’s out of the ordinary.
1:30 p.m.- Auditorium (500 seats?) really starts to fill up. Creepy guy sits next to me, starts telling me about this Onion video about the NCAA tournament expanding to include 4,000 teams. Actual quote: “Could you imagine if the Montgomery College Knights played against North Carolina? Oh man. That wouldn’t be a good game.” Thanks guy.
1:40 p.m.- Since I was one of the first 50 people at the audition, I’m moved into a smaller room. Freak show---commence.
“I hope there are some Thomas the Tank Engine questions. I’ve seen every episode,” said a young black man.
“I got here at 4 a.m.,” said woman wearing leopard-print winter hat indoors, on a 65 degree day. When we were all filling out our forms, this same woman yelled out, “If I don’t have a computer what do I put in as my e-mail address?”
2:00 p.m.- Game time. One sheet of paper. Ten questions. Five minutes. One sheet of paper.
2:05 p.m.- I know for sure I got six right, and at least three wrong. Opera and ancient history questions killed me. I should’ve gotten two more (one about Toni Morrison and another about some stupid elephant).
2:06 p.m.- Kick myself in the ass for not studying opera and ancient history.
2:10 p.m.- Walk outside and see a line stretched for over 200 yards, packed with people.
2:20 p.m.- Campus security guard walks about ¼ of the way up the line. The man he stops in front of suddenly looks very sad. Apparently he was number 1,001.
I’ll find out by mid-May whether I get asked back for a live audition. We’ll see.
Sebastian took a bunch of pictures, and if he allows I'll add them later.