No Jeopardy! for Me
He is the quiz whiz who is crushing the competition on Jeopardy! Oddly, he is not a high tech wizard, a rocket scientist, a Harvard professor, or even a tycoon. Instead, he is a professional gambler, proving that the wise guys and gals you meet at the track or the casino may truly be wise guys and gals.
Every so often, I fantasize about being on Jeopardy! for it is the rarest of TV shows–both highly educational and highly entertaining at the same time. Jeopardy! is not too eggheadish like the old College Bowl series in which the nerdiest nerds on campus would answer questions on calculus, nuclear physics, abstract art, and obscure characters from Shakespearean plays. Nor is it like Trivia Nights at most bars in which most of the questions are about celebrities, recent movies, sports, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones. Nor is too silly like pretty much every game show that has appeared on the tube since the heyday of The $64,000 Question.
Because I am a connoisseur of trivia and read voraciously, I think I would be an ideal Jeopardy! contestant. I usually don’t lose at Trivial Pursuit games, and relatives have called me the “human computer” because I can reel off arcane facts during family gatherings. I would enjoying asking trivia questions on the top of my head to emcee Alex Trebek and my fellow contestants during commercial breaks. And I might be so good on Jeopardy! that not only I would make more money than a Wall Street investment banker or a corrupt politician, I might endorse my own line of encyclopedias, lecture at schools and libraries across the planet, write a best selling memoir, and even have my own television show like Bill Nye the Science Guy.
So why have I not hightailed off to California and try to become a Jeopardy! contestant?
If I appeared on Jeopardy!, I have this nagging suspicion that I would likely be like Ralph Kramden on a classic Honeymooners episode from the 1950s in which he apparently knew the name of every popular song–including arias from Italian operas–in history; yet, when was he asked who wrote “Suwanee River” (Stephen Foster, who also composed Kentucky’s state song, “My Old Kentucky Home”) on a TV quiz show, he acted like a grade school pasty getting a wedgie before mumbling the name of his best friend Ed Norton. (Norton plunked out “Suwanee River” every time he played the piano.) When he realized he lost, Kramden was so crestfallen he impulsively rattled off the names and composers of a multitude of songs to the emcee and the audience before being dragged out of the TV studio.
Back in 1984, “Weird Al” Yankovic sang a funny tune called “I Lost on Jeopardy!” Whenever I have my fifteen minutes of fame, I don’t want to be remembered as the guy who lost on Jeopardy!, Thus, I rather model naughty nighties at a Victoria Secret’s fashion show than blowing the Final Jeopardy question on national television.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
If you’re not greedy, you won’t succeed on a television game show.