It was the morning of a lifetime. We were to be dressed and ready, and at the studio by 7:30am. They gave us each name tags, confirmed our identities, and led us through the lot past other buildings each housing their own shows; and finally we arrived. Wheel of Fortune was no longer a show my grandparents watched, and I saw once in a while if I happened to flip past it. I was going to be on it.
We entered the building, with no sense of splendor or romance. Plain doors, plain rooms, and old chairs lined up against a table filled with granola bars and fresh fruit. There was about 20 of us, filling what looked like a classroom from a "portable" back in high school. Then there was the extremely energetic guy giving us instructions for our day. They would be filming 6 shows today, and any of us could be in any of those shows against anyone else, depending on how the name drawing went.
We began looking around, sizing each other up, but with smiles on our faces. We would strike up conversations with the person next to us, even feign that we hoped they did well. We would pretend to either be more nervous, or less nervous than the person next to us; whichever fit the position we were going for.
Truth was, everyone there knew this was a big deal. Everyone knew they could walk out into the unknown world of Los Angeles a giant winner, a giant loser, or just having done okay. We had all watched the show. We each knew for weeks we were going to be on, and no matter how much we attempted to be casual, everyone knew that everyone there had studied the show more than life itself lately.
When names were drawn, you see friendships quickly fade and some smiles got larger/more intensely fake. There were some sighs, as people who had been "hanging out" realized thankfully they wouldn't have to compete against that one woman who seemed ridiculously smart and funny. There were other sighs, as people realized they were able to compete against the guy who was a youth pastor, and therefore knew more about Bible verses than competing in a fancy hangman tournament. hehe
The taping happened. No time to exchange pleasantries after the game, and no one wanted to stay friends. The socializing was out of necessity. Like a junior high relationship - we were together because there was no one else really. And it had ended...
A Song For the Lent Season
2 weeks ago