Oberlin Alumni Magazine: Summer 2001 Vol.97 No.1
Feature Stories
When Worlds Meet
Visions of Oberlin
Safety Man
[cover story] Caught in the Act
Round Robin Takes Flight
Message from the President
Around Tappan Square

The Value of Vivaldi
by Christopher James Joyce '87
continued from first page...

She continued, "Lucky, lucky," to which I answered, "And boy, am I glad you are not my wife."

As the field narrowed, I changed my strategy. Instead of voting off the weakest contestant, I considered eliminating those who were most likely to get in my way. After all, I viewed this endeavor as a paycheck.

I suspected that I had a better chance against Michelle, the college administrator, than with Martin, a bio-statistician and game show veteran. We played the best of five questions for the win. On the fourth question, being one up on Michelle, I had my chance. I won $97,500 answering that the U.S. Open was the Grand Slam tennis tournament played in Flushing Meadow Corona-Queens. And to think that my weakness was sports.

I left Los Angeles on the first flight out. Unfortunately, I was contractually sworn to secrecy and couldn't tell anyone the results until my episode aired two weeks later.

On April 23, without knowing the outcome, my family watched the program with me at my parents' home. It was a surreal, out-of-body experience. I was once again racked with nerves as if I, too, were witnessing this for the first time.

We arrived home the following morning to 42 emails and 37 phone messages. It was time to install a second line and hire a public relations firm to field the calls and offers. After all, I could afford it now, right?

I was a local celebrity, making the front page of numerous local newspapers and featured on the evening news. The buzz continued for two weeks through an appearance on NBC's "Today Show" to my expert testimony on "Sally."

Imagine my surprise when, as I was loading mulch at the local nursery in my gardening-sweaty best, a woman pulls up in a station wagon and yells out the window, "You look like the guy who won on the 'Weakest Link' Monday night!" No doubt she found it difficult to believe that someone who had just won nearly a hundred grand would be loading his own mulch and driving a 1991 Nissan Sentra without a decent chip of paint left on it.

It was a relief that, as the hype died down, the phones stopped ringing. But at the same time, I had tasted the bit of fame that every performer secretly desires. I was glad to have won only $97,500. It was enough to make our lives significantly better, but not enough to fend off phone calls from long-lost relatives and financial planners.

I only hope that Andy Warhol was wrong and we actually get more than 15 minutes--how about an hour or two? And as for reality television, there is very little real about it. *

Christopher James Joyce is an actor Off-Broadway, in television, feature films, and commercials, and looks forward to performing in a Broadway musical as soon as possible. He thanks Vivaldi, the Red Priest, for giving him this opportunity.

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