I Gloriously Failed To Get On Wheel Of Fortune


I’ve bragged about the thousands of virtual dollars I’ve won while watching my favorite quiz program for the past 30 years. From my couch, I yell at contestants who stumble and miss obvious solutions. I believed I was a perfect candidate to stand up there with Pat and Vanna and win thousands of real dollars.

I figured this year, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, would be the perfect time to apply. I filled out the online application and referred to my wartime service, suggesting I be a contestant on Armed Forces Week in May. I made the required one-minute video and submitted the entry.

Of course, my chances of being invited for a tryout were tiny. Wheel of Fortune holds many contestant searches in various cities around the country. Thousands of people show up at each, with about 50 chosen to actually play the practice game. And, of those, just a few make it to the finals.

However, I was pleasantly shocked when a positive response to my application happened just a couple of days later. I was invited to come to a local hotel the following week for a tryout. This sent me into a flurry of watching dozens of old Wheel programs to prepare for my moment of TV glory.

The audition for about 50 applicants was in a hotel meeting room. We played sample games, and because I aced my tryout Wheel puzzle, I won a souvenir hat. As instructed, I tried to be enthusiastic, applauding, gesturing and shouting as others made their guesses.

Then we were given a sheet with fill-in-the-blanks questions and timed for five minutes. I failed it miserably, completing about five of the 30 questions. I don’t know if that killed my chances, but as the session ended, only ten, all under age 30, were asked to stay. The rest of us slunk out, burdened with broken dreams and went home.  

Of course, I don’t know if the rejection was my poor performance at the tryout and/or the fact that I was almost age 90. However, now recovering from the disappointment, I realize I thoroughly enjoyed my fleeting moment of almost fame. 

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