I’ll go ahead and admit it right now—I used to want to be on the Amazing Race. In fact, I wanted to be on it so much that I actually applied—video, forms, the whole nine yards. But I didn’t hear a word. It was crushing.
Not so crushing, however, that I didn’t try again. I figured that Jeff, whom I first applied with, was the weak link, so I ditched him and applied with my brother Gregory. And though I willed my phone to ring by staring at it all day every day for two full weeks, it never did. Again, it seems that my partner just wasn’t up to par.
(Hold on, what’s that I hear you whispering? You think maybe I was the problem. Um, no, you’re wrong. It definitely wasn’t me. In fact, I think the truth is that the reason I never got a call was that the producers, upon seeing my application, were completely overwhelmed by me and certain that I would absolutely crush any competition, making the show not all that interesting for its viewers. Oh, to be as talented as I am…)
Anyhow, as the show has moved from season to season, my interest has waned, and I’ve gone from being obsessed with getting on the show to watching the show if I happen to have the time. I’m just not invested anymore. I think part of it is the realization that while the show’s contestants travel the world, they don’t really get to see much of it. It’s a race after all, and the goal isn’t to see the scenery or get to know a local or enjoy foreign cuisine. The goal is to accomplish whatever task you’re given as quickly as possible, whether that task is milking camels, consuming pounds of caviar, or running roughshod all over town in search of a hidden clue. The other reason for my slackened interest is my realization that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t actually do that well. Let me tell you why.
1. I don’t perform well on little sleep. I need to get my ZZZs, otherwise not only am I a huge grump-monster, I’m also completely useless. Even as a kid, I wasn’t interested in staying up all night. At sleepovers, I’d stay up just long enough for someone else to fall asleep first and thus be subjected to whatever pranks the other kids could come up with. Once the toothpaste was all over the other kid’s face or their hand was in a bowl of hot water, I was in my sleeping bag and asleep. In college, I never even once pulled an all-nighter. I always figured a good night’s sleep would do me better than a few woozy hours of cramming
2. I do even worse if I don’t get to eat on a regular basis. When I get hungry, I want food NOW. Just as with lack of sleep, a lack of food makes me grumpy. And I have a problem that I call jello legs because when I need food, my legs get to feeling like jello and I feel as if I’m going to collapse. Not good for racing.
3. I can’t stand obnoxious people, and if you have ever watched the Amazing Race, you’ll find that most seasons have a good share of people I’d place into this category. This is reality television after all. Conflict is good for ratings. Stupidity might even be better for ratings.
4. I hate losing. If I ended up being eliminated from the Race, you can bet I wouldn’t be happy about it. No way I’d stand there jumping up and down and cheering for the winning team like all the eliminated losers do on every season’s finale. I think I’d stick my leg out and trip them instead.
So take that Amazing Race. I don’t want to be on your show anyway. Rather than getting paid a million dollars to run around the world like a chicken with my head cut off, yelling at cab drivers, cursing everyone who doesn’t speak English, and screaming at the top of my lungs about how much I hate my partner (oh yes, all common Race occurrences), I’ll pay my own way so that I can move at my own chosen speed. (And sleep and eat when I need to, get away from obnoxious people at my first opportunity, and not have to worry about my sore loser tendencies.)