It was March 30, 1964. A new daytime game show premiered on NBC. The host was Art Fleming. The announcer was the pre-Saturday Night Live, Don Pardo. It was the start of Jeopardy.
Even a young age, my mind was always filled with useless information. Math multiplication tables, not so great. The lifetime batting average of Sammy Taylor, who was a backup catcher for the Cubs, that I knew. Did I know the current Vice-President of the USA in 1964? Maybe, maybe not. Did I know that the hit song “Sugar Shack” was sung by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs? Of course…who wouldn’t know that?
So you can see why I liked Jeopardy from the beginning.
Throughout the five decades of the show, I would watch and like so many others, play along with the contestants. Most of the time, I’d hold my own. Sometimes, I’d even win. I almost always turned off the television thinking, I’d be pretty good on this show…and never did anything about it. I also know a couple of people who have been contestants…and won. You would think that would have got me to start the tryout process but naaaah. Just never got around to it.
A couple of weeks ago, a blog colleague outed herself as being a Jeopardy contestant. I have no idea whether she won or not because the show hasn’t aired and they sign a non-disclosure agreement. Hmmmm…does Trump own a piece of Jeopardy? Anyway, she mentioned that the first step to getting on the show is taking the online test. Well, I can do that. Don’t even have to leave home!! So I signed up!!!
With the test scheduled for last Thursday, I did some mental preparations. I was thinking of possible categories and how I would ask and answer questions:
H: Alex, I’ll take baseball for $200, please.
Trebeck: Name three Jewish players in the Baseball Hall of Fame
H: Who are Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg and Babe Ruth? WHAT!? Babe isn’t Jewish? Sigh…okay.
H trying again: Alex, I’ll take Pop Music for $200, please.
Trebeck: What is Paul McCartney’s mother’s maiden name?
H: Are you f’ing kidding me?
Guess what? It went even worse!!!
There was no Trebeck. There was no choosing categories. There was no answering in the form of a question. Nothing! Nada! ZIP!!!!
You signed in. Clicked a link. Then found out you would be asked fifty questions in a variety of categories. After each question, you’d have 15 seconds to type in your answer. FIFTEEN!!! Then another question would appear…and so on and so on and so on.
Ten pm! It’s go time. It’s time to see if decades of storing useless information will pay off. It can’t be so bad, can it? We found out immediately:
Question 1: OPERA!! The only thing I know about Opera is I don’t like it.
Question 2: Shakespeare!! Please, please be about the movie “Shakespeare in Love”! No? Of course, not.
Question 3: Physics!! OMFG!! C’mon!! REALLY?!!
Question 4: Geography! What is the capital of South Dakota?
Hmmm…I may know this one. What is either Bismarck or Pierre? Does that work? Does spelling count?
The rest of the test didn’t go that bad. There were a lot of questions I was sure of the answer. There were plenty others that I could make an educated guess. My thought is if there was a grade for this, I’d probably get a C or maybe a B minus. At least that’s what I’m telling myself because Jeopardy never will tell you the test score. So, I’m thinking not bad but not good enough to get on the show…and I can live with that. At least I gave it a shot. At least I don’t have to be singing the Weird Al song “I Lost On Jeopardy.”
And by the way….the answer to who was Vice-President on March 30, 1964? We didn’t have one! Sure….they couldn’t ask me that one!!
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