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Chance Favors the Prepared Mind

“So, tell me, Mr. Burnham,¬†why should you be on Check, Please!?”

That was the final question in the 15-minute interview I had with the assistant producer of the TV program Check, Please!

It was not my best interview.

I had submitted an online application to be on the program four months ago, and then I promptly put it out of my mind. I knew that I had little chance of being selected to review my favorite restaurant, and given that my favorite restaurant is Subway, I knew that I was way out of my league.

I promoted myself as a commuter train blogger–that is, someone who blogs about commuting by train. My main criteria for a good restaurant, I wrote in the application, is a place that serves good, relatively cheap food near a local train station. So, I chose the trendy TL’s Four Seasons in Bartlett as the restaurant I wanted to review.

Of course, I have only been to TL’s a handful of times, and I don’t really go out to eat all that often. The only reason I applied to be a guest reviewer was to promote this web site. In the time since I submitted my application, I have stopped commuting by train (I now drive), I’ve been out to dinner three times (twice to an Irish pub in St. Charles, and once to a Chili’s), and I’ve watched one episode of Check, Please!.

I was surprised, then, when I received an e-mail from the assistant producer asking me to call her and talk about TL’s Four Seasons. The interview consisted of straight-forward questions: What is the atmosphere like? What is your favorite dish? Why is it your favorite restaurant?

I couldn’t answer any of them, and I responded with awkward pauses and circular nonsense disguised as words. I was wholly unprepared.

The fact is, I have no business being on a TV show that reviews restaurants. My idea of a fine dining experience is eating a $5 foot-long at home with my wife, sipping an Old Style, watching a Chicago Black Hawks game.

Now that would have been a good answer. Instead, the best answer my unprepared mind could come up with was, “Well, I think I’m a funny guy who could offer a unique perspective on the dining experience.”

How lame.


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