Jerry Slowik says he's always been good at taking tests, from his perfect score on the SAT in high school to the near-perfect 34 he earned on the ACT.
Some 10 years later, the Arlington Heights resident is on TV and making money for being so good at answering questions -- or in this case -- giving his answers in the form of a question.
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Slowik, 28, a writer and security guard at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights, was a contestant on "Jeopardy!" in October, and his multiple appearances are now being aired on TV. The game show's rules prevent him from publicly saying how far he went or how much he made, but Friday's show marked Slowik's second day, with total winnings of $49,998.
His next appearance is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Monday on ABC 7.
On Friday, Slowik gathered with family and friends to watch the show at Eddie's bar in downtown Arlington Heights, a regular "Jeopardy!" viewing location for a group of about four to six people.
Bill Voorhies, one of the "Jeopardy!" enthusiasts, says the group will be watching the next show at nearby Harrys' bar since Eddie's doesn't open until Monday evening.
Voorhies and about five other regulars who gathered Friday to cheer on Slowik shouted out their answers as they watched the show. Slowik, seated a couple bar stools away with his parents, didn't say much, except for the occasional, premeditated thumbs-up, as Alex Trebek called his name on the nearby TV monitor and Slowik correctly answered.
He auditioned for the show in September 2012 at the Sheraton hotel in Chicago, but it wasn't until a year later that he got a call from a "Jeopardy!" producer in Culver City, Calif., telling him that he made the show.
He had been getting several telemarketing calls at the time from phone numbers in California.
"I had that moment where I thought it might have been a sales call, but I'm glad I picked up," Slowik said.
In October, Slowik traveled to the Sony TV studios to tape the shows. He was told not to talk about it, although he was allowed to tell a few family members and friends.
Slowik, a 2004 graduate of Buffalo Grove High School, participated in the school's Scholastic Bowl trivia team, which he says prepared him for his "Jeopardy!" appearances.
He says he likes to know a little about a lot of things, but his specialties are in movies, literature, and Russian history.
On Thursday -- the day Slowik's first "Jeopardy!" show aired -- his book "Sandland," a psychological horror fiction novel, was published on Amazon Kindle, where it costs $9.99.
Being on the show was great, he says, because he was able to meet others who had the same passion for the show.
"It's like a camaraderie because you're with people who like "Jeopardy!," but then you're pitted against each other in a trivial death match."