Today. The day I have been waiting for for a lifetime. Years and years of Wheel of Fortune on my DVR, books and books of word puzzles, loads of glitter. It's Sunday March 7th. It's go time.
The Wheelmobile arrived in DFW on Saturday, but I had the pleasure of going to two fantastic baby showers for a very dear friend of mine that day. Okay, Sunday it is. Fort Worth. Billy Bob's. Giddy up.
The Friday before, I was planning my outfit. Knowing I wanted a little sparkle in my hair, I headed to Forever 21 for just that. A $6 silver sequin headband complete with huge bow, and I was ready. Sunday, I put a fresh pair of spokes on my $5,000 wedge/Bankrupt Halloween costume, powered up with AAAD readers Katie and Marie over a bagel and coffee at Einstein's, and headed to Party City for some flair. A big pack of foot-long fake money ($100 on top!), some gold glittery dolla dolla bill y'all sunglasses, and I was set. Powered all the way from Dallas to Fort Worth blasting Lady Gaga and dreaming of winning big money. Come on world, let's do this.
It rained the whole way and was still raining when I got there. Three umbrellas in my car. None worked properly. "Oh no!" I thought. I can't get my paper-and-foam-core costume wet. THIS IS MY CHANCE! Luckily my winter coat was shoved in the back seat, which would make a great makeshift raincoat on my costume. But, I can't sit down in my costume, so I packed it tight in my coat, held open my janky umbrella, and prayed. Passed the Wheelmobile. Got pumped. This was the realest of the real!
I made it inside. Arms full. My specially-brought-out silver purse on one arm, giant winter coat in the other. Big money held up. Sunglasses on in a dark Billy Bob's. (Pia The Pig's personal pet-peeve of people who wear sunglasses indoors was ignored for this day of all days.)
It was time. Something came over me. I left Pia The Pig/Jill at the door and became Big Money. From head to toe. I was decked in glitter and played up all the glam that came with it. I owned it.
Seas of people. Nobody dressed up. Not even so much as a Vanna. Come on. Pull out the sequins, people. This is WHEEL!
I filled out my application and dropped it in the box along with thousands of others. "If it's meant to be, it will be," my mother's words beating in my head, trying to be calm. One shot. Been waiting for years.
Like I said, I couldn't sit down in my costume. I didn't need to. Big Money doesn't sit on the sideline. Big Money dances. And so I did. People stared. People were confused. I used it as fuel. I started shouting "Big Money!" and waving money around. I didn't stop. I stood by the bar to rearrange my belongings, and of course, update my Facebook status, and then it started. FANS! In ten minutes, I took photos with 20 strangers. I couldn't stand still. I started walking down the aisles of folks waiting for the tryouts to begin, and I gave them a show. I shouted. I "wooooooo"ed. I laughed. People yelled "Big Money" with me. They took my photo. They took photos with me. They smiled.
I have never walked to cheers before. I felt like Taylor Swift. I got people excited. I was beaming. Having a blast.
Sidenote: I am considering a career move to a mascot. If acting like a total idiot can make people smile, laugh, cheer, I AM IN. Full-on varsity. Sign me up. Sweaty and all-this was exhilarating.
The producers took note. They laughed and pointed. In the best way possible. Then it was time. They brought me on stage! to pump up the crowd. Amazing. I yelled into the camera "TEXAS LOVES WHEEL OF FORTUNE!" and then they turned on music. I pulled out dance moves no one needed to see. But they did. They loved it. I raised the roof. I Arsenio Halled it. I pumped it up. I turned around so they "boo'd" when they saw my Bankrupt side and cheered when they saw my $5K side. (reversible costumes=double win!) Arms waving money. Dignity well out the window.
It was time to start the real auditions, but I didn't sit down. I stood right next to the stairs for the lucky few whose name would get randomly called, the stairs I so wished to climb. But I wasn't alone. A cardboard Pat Sajak was next to me. Flashes still catching this ridiculous display of idiocy. Me.
I sweated and waved my fake money through rounds and rounds of names being called. Lucky people in normal clothes. Not drenched in glitter. Able to sit and pee. Big Money wasn't called, but it didn't mean I was out. (A few applicants get chosen as "wild cards" so to speak. A few extra chances left for those dreams not called up on stage that day.) The faith was kept. The fun was had. The money was crumbled. The arms were exhausted. Pits sweaty. (Big Money is honest.)
The first round of auditions rounded to a close. Thousands of people filed out. Many stopped for photos.
I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay and keep dancing. Keep waving my money and dancing my money dance. I asked a producer, "Are you sure you don't want me to stay and pump up the crowd?" "You would want to?" He asked, probably thinking, "Aren't you tired? Don't you want to sit?" But no. No, I tell you. Big Money (and my future career as a mascot) knows that it's not about you. It's about the FANS. You must not think about eating, drinking, peeing, sitting. You must think about your fans. Smiling, laughing, cheering, loving.
And so, I stayed. For another two hours. Started all over (minus the application part.) A fresh crowd of hopeful faces. Some confused. Many laughing. Probably at me. Who cares. Big Money was here to dance.
And so I did. From one end of Billy Bob's to the other. About as wide as a football field. Felt like nothing. DJ was blasting "You know you make me wanna shout!" Big Money has been to enough Bar Mitzvahs to have a choreographed dance to that song in BM's back pocket. Jump up and shout, y'all. The crowd was bumping. I kept waving the money. Shouting "Big Money", bending my knees. Shakin' some Big Money Bootay.
I watched more dreams come true as another 45 or so people got called up on stage. I cheered and waved my money for all of them. Hoping for my name to be called, practicing my "tell me about yourself" prompt. Limbering up for more on-stage dancing.
But, alas, my name was not called. But I had the time of my life. My arms have never been so sore from lifting fake money for 6 hours. (will they ever again?) I knew my back would kill the next day, but again, BIg Money puts her body second, the fans first.
One final photo with a cardboard Vanna, and I headed out of Billy Bob's, exhausted yet exhilarated, hoping so badly my shenanigans and spirit meant something. If I didn't get the call or email to move forward, it was okay. Disappointing, but okay. I had so much fun.
It's a good thing I went alone, though. There were moments that I look back on, dance moves I remember, that were enough for me to consider defriending myself. But then I remembered, Big Money is a friend to all.
A few days later, I got the email. WoF Final Auditions Invitation. Holy MONEY! It worked! I jumped up and down. I hugged almost the entire office. I danced for another hour.
Tell the kids baby, dreams do come true.
The final auditions are on Wednesday. I will leave the costume at home. But Big Money is in my blood. It's time to bring it.
R S T L N E, FTW! Pia The Pig
PS-The local news caught my passion on camera. See below and click here for the rest of the photos.
Um....I realize I am way behind on my posts and haven't even written about Wheel of Fortune, but I just had a serious lunchtime Retail Attack and I must share it with you so you can get in on this, stat.
I restricted myself and still walked away with pillows, two pots, two dresses, and an entire outdoor serving set. The mens ties are adorable and I am totally swooning over the bikes. I haven't been this excited since the Swell by Cynthia Rowley line invaded Target, and then my home, respectively. I went to the SuperTarget on Abrams. You must as well.