It’s Academic

An MIT degree confers instant credibility, even if you’re trying to become a game show host, like I was some years ago.  I was auditioning to host a show in Washington, DC called It’s Academic. It’s basically Jeopardy for high school students.

During my audition a question arose as to whether “chlorine” or “chloride” was the halogen’s elemental form.  My answer card was wrong—it said “chloride.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s chlorine,” I said.  The judges knew I was from MIT, so they trusted me and overruled the card.

The whole experience was pretty ridiculous.  The student contestants knew I was auditioning so they decided to haze me.  I was supposed to banter with each contestant for a moment.  It ending up going like this:

“Welcome to It’s Academic.  Let’s meet today’s contestants.  So Johnny, how did you spend your summer vacation?”

“I had a demon exorcised from my body.”

“Super.  I’m glad that worked out for ya.  Peter, how about you?”

“Let’s see: I hacked into the Los Alamos computer system and I lost my virginity in the backseat of a ‘93 Ford Probe.”

“That’s swell, Peter.  Julie, do you have anything you’d like to share?”

“Yeah.  You stink.  I like the other host better.”

“Excellent.  Let’s begin the game, shall we?”

About Steve Altes

Steve Altes is the author of several humor books, dozens of humorous adventure essays, and the comedic graphic novel Geeks & Greeks, set at MIT and inspired by MIT's culture of hacking and Steve's own experiences with hazing.
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