A few weeks ago I registered to take the online qualifying test for Jeopardy.
Maybe like you, I have watched Jeopardy for years.
Maybe like you, members of my family have said, “You should be on this show.”
I was foolish enough to believe them.
I was scheduled for last night at 6PM.
I had written the entry password down somewhere, so the first job was to remember where I had put that slip of paper from two weeks ago. I went looking frantically around the house until Anne reminded me that I had put the number in my iCalendar. You would have thought my lack of memory about this would be a warning to me of what was to come.
Excited, I logged on at exactly 5:30, the earliest I could for my 6PM test. On the screen of my computer popped a timer counting down. With a half hour to go I went to check my email and Facebook and returned with about 4 minutes left on the clock.
With about 30 seconds left, the Jeopardy song began to play.
My heart started beating faster. Sweat erupted on my palms in spite of the Polar Vortex outside.
With five seconds left, the timer started jumping out at me for each second: Five – four – three – two – ONE!
My heart was pounding out of my chest.
I had 15 seconds to answer each question. NOT in the form of a question.
Each new question was labeled with a category, but took me about five questions to realize this.
There were 50 questions. I absolutely had no idea what the answers were to ten. On about ten more, I knew I knew, but went completely blank.
To read the category, recall the answer and keyboard it in took almost the entire 15 seconds. There was no time to think about it.
At question 25 the phone rang. “Ahhhh!” I wasn’t going to answer it, but it was a total distraction for about three questions.
I can only recall two questions. I was able to rearrange letters to spell “flounder,” and I knew that “this is the winter of our discontent” was from Shakespeare, but I had no idea which play. I guessed Macbeth.
I Googled later.
When I was done, the screen said that I would not be told how I did or what the correct answers were. In fact, it was likely that I would never hear from them again, unless I qualified. Which was highly unlikely.
A timed test of disconnected facts that require nothing more than quick recall and no immediate feedback.
Plus when I was done I felt completely stupid.
It brought back all my memories of being a student in school.