Monday, February 02, 2009

A "Millionaire" memory

Lately, I've been having a Twitter conversation with Amy Stark about an initiative she is spearheading to get Hoosiers to use a certain hashtag (#Indiana) on their Indiana-related tweets. Amy's on a mission to bump up Indiana's Q score using online thingamajigs and social media whatsits.

Anyway, our conversation just made me remember an exchange that took place while I was a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? a few years ago...
The contestant experience is pretty long and drawn-out. They had us show up in the morning, and we had a few hours of "contestant briefing" with the producers and the legal guy and all kinds of other stuff before lunch, and then we had make-up (!) and some other stuff before going out to tape. Part of the other stuff after make-up was having our pictures taken for posterity -- or for record-keeping or for somesuch.

The photographer they used was a very thin woman, dressed all in black, with a vahguely Eurohpeahn ahccehnt. Very cool, very now, very trendy, very Paris-Milan-New York.

The drill went like this: the production assistant would hand us a piece of paper with our name and hometown on it, we'd hold it in front of our chest, the Europhotographer would take our mugshot, and then we'd go sit on the couch and wait to go on stage. But as I held up my paper ("Scott Semester / Carmel, IN"), the woman was clearly puzzled.

"IN?" she asked, pronouncing it "in" -- like the preposition used to indicate inclusion within space, a place, or limits.

"Indiana," I helpfully suggested.

"Eeen-dyana," she sort of repeated.

"Indiana," I smiled.

"Eeen-dyana. Whehre is thees?"

"It's close to Chicago," I said, certain she had at least heard of Chicago.

"Ah. One of the ones een the meedle."

"Yes. In the middle," I agreed.

"One of the ones we fly over, no?"

"Yes, one of the ones you fly over," I said.


"Thaht vill be all. Next!"

Clearly, Amy and the #Indiana gang have a big task ahead of them...


Michelle Morris said...

That reminds me of a concert I went to while on vacation in South Carolina. I liked the band so much that afterwards, I asked the singer if they ever played in Indiana. His reply, "Indy-where?" Uhhh, nevermind.

Scott S. Semester said...

Exactly. I don't know if we're fighting an uphill battle or what, but certainly Indiana could use some PR help!

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why the coasters (East and West) drove my mom nuts...

Esmerelda said...

When I visit an old friend of mine who lives in NYC--she loves introducing me as "her friend from Indiana" and watch as people's eyes glaze over. Once I was asked if we had cell phones in Indiana yet?

Scott S. Semester said...

Haha! Luckily, our experience in NYC in 2004 was very hospitable -- even in spite of our Hoosierness. My parents came with me (read: my parents paid for the trip out there -- thanks, Mom and Dad!), and the taping was in December, so the city was all dolled up for the holidays, and it was awesome! We had a blast, and everyone was REALLY nice, contrary to my dad's previous NYC much so, that he's actually talking about wanting to go back, which he never thought he'd want to do!