because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

I’m Going to Be on SURVIVOR!

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Sorry, I didn’t mean to trick you.

But I am going to be on SURVIVOR.

Eventually.

You know, probably.

Because I tried out to be a contestant on SURVIVOR.

Again.

This time auditions were held just 20 minutes away, right outside of Rochester, New York.

{So, of course, I’m thinking this is mine. Because, seriously, why would CBS come to Rochester to hold a casting call if they weren’t there to get me, right?}

I assume there would be thousands of people camped out, waiting for registration, which was scheduled to begin at 11 AM.

In anticipation of looooong lines, I get up early, eat a healthy breakfast, gather up a the necessary provisions – snacks and water — fill up my gas tank, and make the easy drive to Victor. I assume parking will be difficult, so I wear my sneakers. I’m prepared to go the distance.

You can imagine my surprise when I see the short line of people ahead of me.

Like ridiculously short.

The line at 9:30 AM. Super short.

Pulling into the lot, I learn I’ve arrived early enough to be able to park in the lot adjacent to the filming location. When they count us out, I’m #67, one of my favorite numbers.

{You know, ‘cuz I was born in 1967. Confirmation that the Universe is working for me.}

I go to the back of the line where I meet a couple that had driven in from Little Falls, New York (about four hours away), a pharmacy technician named Mindy, a prison guard named CJ , a flaky millennial who has never seen a single a episode of the show before, and some dude who has tried out about 17 times.

“When I have to go to the bathroom, will you guys save my place?” the bearded millennial asks.

We quickly form an alliance and agree to help each other out.

There isn’t much to tell.

The lines get longer.

By noon, there are probably a thousand people waiting to audition. Maybe more.

I wait 2 and ½ hours before being moved into a garage, where I wait some more. There is a nice breeze and a cardboard cutout of Jeff Probst.

Eventually, I make it inside where I hand in my release waiver, stating I allow CBS to use my likeness on social media – or for whatever purpose they like. I provide my phone number and email address.

After that, we go back outside to another area of the garage and, after another wait, we walk back inside. Some of us stand; some of us sit in blue office chairs.

This is the first moment where I start to think about what I will say. I know I have just ONE minute to make my pitch. There is no panel. Just me and a twenty-something wearing trendy thick black glasses.

This is a summary of what I believe I said. Obviously, I was nowhere near this clear or succinct. I did my best to stand in front of the camera and smile and laugh and act natural.

In August of 1999, I saw a trailer for a new show called SURVIVOR, and I was immediately interested: a show like that was right up my alley – physical competition paired with emotional challenges and a social game? Sign me up.

Then I looked down at my ankles, which were super puffy because I was super pregnant (due to deliver any day), and I realized that I wouldn’t be able to participate for a long time. I promised myself that if the show was still on the air when my kid graduated from high school, I was going to try out again.

So here we are, nearly 18 years later. I’ve never missed an episode and I’m making good on my promise. A lot has happened in my life over the last 4 years. I’ve bounced back after a brain injury, which occurred after I was incorrectly weaned off a prescription medication. There’s more to tell, of course – and you’ll have to call me back to Los Angeles if you want to learn more. Suffice it to say I’m funny, flirty, and fit. As a former teacher, I’m a good communicator, which wins me points with adults and makes me relate easily to a younger generation. As far as I’m concerned, you guys came to Rochester to get me. Here I am, pick me.

Trendy black glasses holds up his hand, indicating I have 5 seconds left.

And I break out into a little dance.

{Cuz, you know, I do that.}

Before I leave, an older gentleman tells me that I’ll only receive a phone call if the producers are interested in bringing me out to Los Angeles.

{So you know, any day.}

What did you do yesterday? Or… what show would you like to be on if you didn’t have real life responsibilities?

XOXO

 

What it Means to Survive

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The last time I tried out for Survivor was in 2013.

I was healthy.

Or at least, I thought I was.

(I had no idea that taking .5 mg of Klonopin at bedtime as prescribed was destroying my brain and my central nervous system.)

After 33 months of healing, I’m feeling well enough to be a contestant on Survivor.

Again.

I have no idea how I’d do.

I like to think I’m strong, but last week I got a bunch of splinters in my fingers and I complained for days.

I can handle extreme heat, but relentless rain? Not so much.

I get along with nearly everyone, and I find people endlessly fascinating.

But living with strangers? For over a month? In less than 4-star accommodations?

That could be rough.

This weekend, I enlisted a friend to help me make a video.

And yesterday, I submitted my video to Jeff Probst.

So, three years later, I’m crossing my fingers.

Again.

Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

If you are moved to tweet this post to @SurvivorCasting & @JeffProbst, I’d be grateful.

tweet me @rasjacobson

Tweet With #TribalChix About Survivor Tonight!

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imgresA bunch of you know that I’m a Survivor junkie.

And that I’ve even tried out to be on the show several times.

(Can you even believe that they haven’t picked me yet?)

One of the questions the folks from Survivor always want to know is what three (3) non-survival related items you would take with you to a remote location, and why.

I’ve thought about this at length.

Here are the items I’d bring to the island if they let me:

  1. A well-stocked medical kit. (No way I’m getting sent home over some infected splinter.)
  2. A huge bottle of sunscreen. (Poor Cocharan. Did you guys see that guy’s feet when he burned them? Ouch!)
  3. A jumbo-sized box of tampons. (I’ve always wondered if those are considered survival items. No one ever seems to have her period. What can I say, I’d need them.)

Anyway.

As it turns out, two of my favorite blogging buddies, authors Tiffany White and K.B. Owen, are die-hard Survivor fans, too.

And we decided that tonight we’re going to tweet live during Survivor.

I know. Fun, right?

We’re going to use the hashtag #tribalchix, and we’d love it you would join us in the conversation. 

So grab your torches and join the #tribalchix tonight.

You know, until the tribe has spoken.

It’s game on at 8 PM, EST.

What talents/skills would you bring to the island? If you were stranded on an island, who would you most want to be stranded with?

tweet me @rasjacobson

 

Coming Clean About My Age

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My birthday is coming up, y’all.

Yup, this summer girl was born in November.

You know what that means.

My parents got busy around Valentine’s Day.

It means this year I turn 50.

Whaaat?

Well, kind of.

Lucy watches Little Ricky's birthday party fro...
Lucy watches Little Ricky’s birthday party from the window ledge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lucille Ball once said:

“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”

How much do I Love Lucy?

Here’s the 411.

When I first started teaching, I was 23, just a few years older than some of my 12th grade students!

When I introduced myself, I made a point of tacking on a few extra years. I said I was 25. Seven extra years seemed like the right amount of padding.

When I moved to New Orleans, I continued to add years. I felt I needed the cushion, so parents would nod and smile instead of raise disapproving eyebrows. And so my students would believe I was seasoned and complete my assignments without giving me grief.

I never lied to my employers. The Headmaster and English Department Chair at Metairie Park Country day School knew precisely how green old I was when I was hired.

A few years ago, I realized I’ve been in my 40’s for nearly fifteen years.

And that made me remember my grandmother who told people she was 29.

For decades.

After she stopped wearing wigs and wore her thinning hair in loose ponytails wrapped in twine, she was 29. After her eyes dulled and her skin wrinkled, she was 29. After her toenails yellowed and her remaining teeth fell out of her mouth, she was 29.

It was preposterous.

No-one bought it. It was silly and a little pitiful.

I vowed to go the other way.

So I padded.

This year, I could have told my students that I was 50.

Because if you tack on five extra years…well, I look pretty freaking good for 50, right?

Feeling groovy.

And yet.

I’ve kind of caught up with myself.

These days, I am grateful for this body that continues to get me where it needs to go – even if I sometimes have headaches and get dizzy and fall down. I am grateful for my eyes, which still appreciate all the beauty around me – even if the view is a little blurry. I just have to remember to find put on my glasses. I will never have pretty model’s hands, but I have four fingers that help me to tap out what I want to say. Fingers that help me punch buttons on the phone to speak to old friends and new. Fingers that are attached to hands that reach out to offer assistance, to squeeze shoulders. Hands that are attached to arms which can swallow people up in hugs. And even if my vocal cords are toasted, I realized I have these things called ears that work really well, too.

So the jig is up.

Lucy, we’re back to living honestly.

On Sunday, I’ll be 45.

Right where I’m supposed to be.

A wife.

A mother.

A daughter.

A contestant on Survivor.

Just kidding.

But a girl can hold onto her dreams, right?

Have you ever lied about your age? How are you doing with the growing older thing? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

Do You Think I Could Survive?

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I don’t watch a lot of television.

But my DVR is set every Thursday night.

I am a Survivor Junkie.

I’ve watched Survivor ever since the very first episode aired back in 2000.

I remember sitting in front of the television, wishing wishing wishing that I wasn’t 7 months pregnant.

I know that sounds terrible, but seriously. Why didn’t that show come out two years earlier?

From that moment on, I’ve dreamed about being on Survivor.

I remember watching the season when the contestants were in Australia. People were severely dehydrated, their beautiful bodies became skeletal. A participant had to be evacuated because of injuries.

And yet.

I still wanted to do it.

Each season has offered surprises.

There have been tribal swaps and fake merges. Sometimes tribes have been divided by gender; sometimes by age, once by race Sometimes both tribes have had to share the same beach. They introduced hidden immunity idols in Survivor Guatemala, and I thought: Freaking Brilliant!

I have watched contestants lie in an effort to win the big prize, and I have watched contestants struggle, trying to remain true to their morals knowing in order to win they would have to break their own personal code of ethics — if they wanted to win.

I have also watched contestants who have played for the love of the game. For those players, it hasn’t been about the money. It has been about the adventure.

Each season, I have thought, One day. I will be on that show.

I have applied before.

And I have been rejected.

My husband laughs at me. He says Survivor is played out. He can’t believe I still watch it. My son now watches with me, but he thinks I’d be voted off at the first tribal council.

Nice, right?

The other day, I saw CBS was doing a casting call.

And I thought, My “baby” is 13 years old now.

I can do this.

I want to do this.

So I did.

This is my 4th time.

I’d love to show you the video I sent, but I don’t know if that could get me disqualified.

But I’ll show you that I started out wearing this:

Hi. I’m Renée. I have sparkly glasses…

And then I ended up wearing this:

…but, if vision is optional, I will work the hotness factor.

I really would love to know how I would do in such an intensely physical and mental game.

Right now, I am learning how to make fire without flint.

I’m reading up on all kinds of tips about how to survive out in nature.

Because I want this.

So cross your fingers for me.

Because, as dorky as it sounds, being on Survivor is my 13-year-old dream.

And I’d love to make it come true.

How do you think I’d do? And what ONE luxury item do you think would be wise to bring alone?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Blogger Deb Bryan’s husband was on Survivor and you can be sure that when Deb wrote THIS interview, I sat up and paid attention! Ba.D, you better believe that if I make it through this round, I’m going to find you and ask for tips!