its way west to my destination. Shouts of glee from children playing in the park drowned out the background hum of the traffic, and gradually, my normally optimistic demeanor was restored.


Arriving back at ABC's building on 67th I joined the small group of people waiting for their audition for "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?".

A cute young aide, clipboard in his hand, emerged from the building after a few dozen people had gathered, and started checking us in, verifying the email addresses of the assembled hopefuls.

Blank applications and pencils were distributed to those who hadn't printed out the file the show sent with its confimation email. As my printer had managed to fail at this simple task, I took one and filled it out.

More and more people showed up, more email addresses were checked and more applications were handed out. It was explained that the process would take about thirty minutes if you didn't pass the test and forty-five minutes if you did.

More people.

Jai Rodriquez, culture maven of Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" passed by, looking much cuter but just as short as on TV.

More people.

Soon the last of the previous group had finished the audition and we were led up the block and across the street to a basement bar or club where the test was to be administered. Every bag was searched as we entered the club. I was traveling light so I just walked in.

Walking to the back of the club, I took a seat toward the middle of the room at a table with four chairs and one person already seated. A man my age, I'd say, with long light brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. More people filed into the room and eventually a red-haired woman in her late forties took the seat across from me and a clean cut business type in his thirties sat next to me.

The woman quickly took command of the group. This was her second time in two weeks taking the test so she knew the routine and guided everybody through what was about to be explained anyway by one of the producers. There were four numbered manilla envelopes on the table with four pencils and four answer sheets. We were instructed to select one of the

numbered envelopes and then put our names and that number of one of the answer sheets. I was number 28.

Just in case that was at all confusing, the red-haired woman at our table pleasantly explained it again.

We were soon given the signal to begin.

It was a thirty question multiple-choice test. We were given eleven minutes. Shortly after the five minute warning, I was done.

The answer sheets were collected and we all chatted while the tests were being graded. Of course, we discussed the test. I was relieved that a couple of guesses I had made were correct. For the most part I wasn't terribly concerned. It was an easy test, much easier than the Jeopardy test which I had taken, and I knew I passed.

The producer came back and explained that those who passed the test would be sent a postcard in a week or two with the final results of the process: did you make the contestant pool, or not! He then began calling the numbers for the people who had passed the test. They would be detained for a few minutes longer for a brief interview. The rest would have to leave.

"Number 18" was the first number called. It was the clean cut guy, Bob, next to me! The group broke into applause and shouts of congratulations.

"Number 28" was the next number. That was me. Applause again broke out as I stood up, and the red-haired woman across from me shook my hand in apparently heartfelt approval.

Bob and I took seats at the far end of the bar, actually closer to the entrance than where the test was given, and waited while the remaining numbers were called and greeted with applause. Those whose numbers were not called filed out wishing the rest of us good luck as they passed.

The red-haired woman from the table stopped for a minute to talk to Bob and I before she left to fly home.

"Where's home?" I asked her.

"Dallas, Texas." she replied. She had flown up this morning to take the test and was flying back this evening. And she had done the same thing two weeks previous!

Seems to me, if you can afford to fly from Dallas to New York twice in two weeks, just to try out for a game show, you probably don't need the million dollars, or wouldn't if you didn't spend it on plane tickets.

As the last of those who didn't pass the test filed out, the hard part began - the interview.