What is persistence?

I have had three experiences trying to get on Jeopardy! But first, an explanation of the process: First, you enter a lottery drawing (effectively) -- you submit your pertinent personal and geographic information, as well as the city in which you would like to audition. This used to be the old-fashioned kind of thing, where sending in 30 postcards really did improve your odds. Nowadays I suspect most people enter online. Once you are selected, you get a phone call (or an email) and you must confirm the appointment. On test day, you and ~100 other people show up and take a 50-question test covering all sorts of subjects. If you pass the test (minimum score of 35) you play a mock game after the losers leave. Most of those people are chosen to go on the show, as is my understanding. Especially if you represent a group that is not represented on Jeopardy! very often.

The first time I made it through the lottery was the winter of 2001; I was selected to take the test in New York. I thought I could swing it since I would be home for winter term -- didn't happen. I was taking a WFR class and couldn't leave.

The second time I took the test in Cleveland. It was noon on a Friday and I was battling a wicked hangover. I doubt that I would have passed the test, but whatever. I also got a sweet parking spot. And I almost threw up on the way.

Just last week I was notified of an upcoming opportunity to take the test again. (This time here in D.C.) I am not going to study too much, since I have better things to do than make Shakespeare/Bible/British monarchy flashcards. And besides, the 50 questions come in 50 completely random categories (cf. the actual show, when you could nail an entire category through careful study). Wish me luck. Or not. Trebek doesn't show up, in case you were wondering.

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