After I lost on Jeopardy, I was unhappy about it. I thought maybe I could channel that unhappiness into something better, perhaps by throwing myself into studying for the Tournament of Champions I felt I'd inevitably be invited to. I got a five subject notebook, and I was sure I'd fill it with anything and everything I thought of or noticed around me that I felt would be useful on the show. And when I was told my job would be ending in two weeks the Friday after my losing show aired, I was glad to have tons of time to fill it.
All I ever wrote in it was a handful of subjects I thought would be good to study, and Gold, Sword, Juno, Omaha, and Utah. And on the last page months later, when I started working again, some bus times.
I got called near the end of February (in fact, on the anniversary of when they first called me last year), and learned I was indeed invited to compete in the ToC. My time had wound down, and I decided that since I hadn't studied at all, this was no time to start. I became determined to have as much fun as possible with the whole experience, and to just let it happen.
Two Saturdays before the taping, my family had a St. Patrick's Day party. We ended up leaving my aunt's house late. I didn't tell anyone, but I had hoped to get to work Sunday morning; I had called myself a "maybe" for overtime work that day (I originally gave a categorical "no," but changed my tune when I got scoffed at by my supervisor), and I made sure to get up really early so I might get over there for 8:30. (This happened to be the Sunday morning that clocks were set forward.) I awoke miserable, realized that there was no way I could get to work on time with Sunday morning buses, and gave up, but I didn't go back to bed.
After surviving that day tired, I didn't think much about it until that Tuesday night. At choir practice, I sang in falsetto at a part that our director encouraged the men to sing with the altos, and discovered a rasp to my head voice. By the end of that night, my throat hurt.
I felt worse on Wednesday, and worse on Thursday. I was better on Friday and Saturday.
(Speaking of Friday, something else that was nice that day was getting Chinese food. In my fortune cookie was this slip of paper:
I put it in my wallet, and it's been there almost continuously since.)
And then I woke up Sunday hardly able to hear in my right ear. This would last for weeks, and the taping was two days away.