Ever dreamed about trying out for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? My mother-in-law was living the dream yesterday!
She came to New York to take the test and audition for their upcoming TV Week, for which we all think she would be perfect. (She claims to watch 80 hours of TV a week, but that’s surely an exaggeration. We hope.)
I asked Bonney to share a bit of her experience with those of us with less glamorous lives. Here is how she described her big day:
Johnny dropped me off at the studio to wait in line. I stood next to a lady with a suitcase. She was very nicely made up and dressed and looked so normal. I said hello and here was our conversation:
Me: Did you come right from the airport?
She: Oh, well, oh, I really don’t want to talk about it. I’ve told so many people and it’s a long story.
She: Yeah, I really don’t want to talk about it if you don’t mind.
She: Isn’t this exciting? Would you take a picture of me standing against the building? (no signs or anything – just a brick wall)
I take the picture and she then proceeds to take a picture of the line of people, the security guard and me.
Me: Where are you from?
She: Chicago. Where are you from?
Me: New Hampshire.
She: Where is that?
Me: Next to Vermont?
She: (small shake of no)
Me: Above Massachusetts?
She: (the shake)
She: OH!! Is it next to Georgia?
Me: Above New York?
She: OH!! Next to Canada?
Me: Yes. (I gave up)
She tells me she knows Canada because she was driving to NY once when she was stopped at the border of what she thought was NY, and they started looking through her car and trunk. She finally realized she was at the border of Canada, not NY. Apparently nothing exists if she hasn’t been there.
So one of the show’s workers announces that we may not bring in anything that does not have a screw cap, and we may not use the bathrooms. If we need a bathroom, the nearest one is in the Barnes and Noble store on the third floor. (I wonder how Barnes and Noble feels about this.) I am tempted to ask if we may use the bathroom if we get on the show but decide to keep my mouth shut.
We then are admitted to a lunchroom and pass through a metal detector after security paws through our bags. I’m carrying my pretty pink Hello Kitty bag and the security officer says “Looks like a big spill of Pepto Bismol” Thank you!! I lose my friend here because of course security must go through her whole suitcase.
At our seats there is a brown envelope, a WWTBAM pencil, and a WWTBAM magnet. Both have numbers: the envelope is 95, my number when I was a telephone operator, and the magnet is number 13, Jenna (my daughter) and Anna’s birthdates. This could be lucky.
But first I get to meet the people at my table. A meek lady who later spends more time erasing than marking her test, a southern woman and a gal from southern New Jersey who talks more than me! She talks about what must be her favorite subject – herself. I never understand people like this. She just went on and on about how much she cares about her dogs, and how she works at a rescue place once a month, and how good she is to her mother, and on and on.
Then the timed TV test starts. Ten minutes each. It’s all multiple choice, so I do what I can and move on.
They collect the cards and hand out the regular Millionaire test. General questions. They collect the cards. We are told we may keep our magnets and pencils.
They will now announce the numbers of the people that passed BOTH tests: 38, 49, 27 and 13!!!!! Yes, that’s right. I passed both tests!! The four of us stand up and move forward while the rest of the numbers are called. I have a Polaroid taken – it’s not so bad – I look good when I’m in shock – and then a two minute interview about where I’m from, how did I hear about this audition, my lunch box collection, what I would do with a million dollars, then a thank you we’ll send you a post card in two weeks it was nice to meet you.
Out on the street I run into my “friend’,” who I see has just tried to get on a bus and stepped back off.
Me: How did you do?
She: I failed both tests.
Me: I’m sorry.
She: That’s okay. I think I’ll try out for Deal or No Deal.
(I hope they film that in Canada.)
She wishes me well, we hug and part.
I start practicing a sad face so I can fool Johnny and Anna. I am working very hard on that when I pass a potato sitting on the sidewalk. It’s not smashed or scraped— it’s just sitting in the middle of a quiet sidewalk. I think about that on the way home. New York: If it isn’t the people that get you wondering, it’s the produce.
So there you have it— a very stupid Chicagoan trying out for Who Wants to be a Millionaire (and failing), Bonney passing both the regular Millionaire test AND the special TV Week test, and a mysterious potato on the sidewalk.
Thank you, Bonney, for sharing your day with us. We can’t wait to see you on TV with Meredith!