Well, who doesn’t, really? As I sit in the ABC Studios building, my heart pounds a little hearing the quirky proctor shout, “One more minute!”
“Who passes this thing, anyway?” I wonder, imagining my friends who reported an extremely easy test in years past to have taken a very different exam. One not based almost entirely on pop-culture that this girl, who watches too much television, seems to have somehow missed. Waiting to hear my number amongst the passing scores seems a bit comical, but I listen like someone hoping, without expectation, to hear the right Bingo combination.
“Number 283!” Wow. I believe moments like these inspired the texting creation of “lol,” which I do, at least twice. As I complete my application and answer the friendly interviewer’s questions, I remember what ultimately led me to audition for, of all things, a trivia show. My father used to watch Jeopardy and Win Ben Stein’s Money. Though politics occupy his most recent and lasting television fascination, I suspect he’s still that guy in the room who solves most of the Jeopardy questions correctly. Not me.
So aside from the inspiration of my dear friend Matt Hensrud (and the less-than-brilliant contestant before him who won some decent money) when he skillfully and confidently competed on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, what prompted this seemingly odd lapse of realism? The same impulse that started Skydiving for Pearls: a drive to enjoy the sound of my pounding heart, rather than fear it, to try new things, and to reach for the things I want (in this case, some financial stability or freedom) without caring about the fear, the “What if I’m not good enough?”
My most exciting moment occurred as I left the studio, exhilerated from a successful test, interview, and audition (I did my best, we’ll see what happens), when I realized how much I’ve gained since starting Skydiving for Pearls a year and a half ago. I get sick sometimes, weeks pass between writing, the television sucks me in again, I still haven’t done my taxes this year (extensions are my adult version of “my dog ate my homework”), and I often feel like a cowardly, lazy lioness. I do not skydive every day, and I haven’t even ridden my bicycle since sometime last fall. Occasionally, I have a hard time deciding whether my bravery sputters or comes in spurts.
Regardless of my human failings, I yet managed to plant a seed last year in this heart once so afraid of change. “I could never appear on a trivia show.” Well, thankfully I stopped saying “never,” because I will look in the mail in a couple of weeks for that postcard, Millionaire. Whether I make the contestant pool or not, I’ve taken another try at reaching for that brass ring, and it feels good to let go of one more negative assumption and one more unnecessary “never.” The weather has shifted dramatically in the city tonight, and it carried an impulse to start afresh. My personal trainer from last year contacted me today to ask when I want to workout. Coincidence or not, I’ve had it with this sickness and television diet, let’s work! I suppose this means I have to finish my taxes…