I watch Jeopardy a lot. It has come to be my safe show when the house is just a bit too quiet or if I don’t want to become emotionally invested in a drama series.
My father watched Jeopardy a lot too, although not quite in the same manner as myself. I can simply press a few buttons, open a streaming service, and sit for hours consuming decades worth of the brainy gameshow. Dad had to wait until 7 o’clock each night and watch only one episode at a time.
I sat with him during this dinnertime ritual and listened as he spoke aloud the correct answer to each clue. Never braggadocios, or even with a high chin. Simply stating the facts (before even the contestants had buzzed in with their own guess) and waiting for the next question.
“How do you always know the answers?” I remember asking him one evening. I was a child impressed by what seemed to be an endless waterfall of knowledge rushing out of my father. Although, he never answered but simply said,
“I remember my old man always knowing the right answers too. I asked the same question. You’ll know them too one day.”
I found this hard to believe at the time but here I sit today doing the same “Mark Parker answer into the air” in my own living room, not much younger than he was then. I guess he was right.
Now, as I’m writing this, Alex Trebek provides:
As Queen of Egypt in the 1300s B.C., she played a prominent role in the cult of the sun god Aton
I know this because I took World Religions in college. I’m also a fan of powerful women in history.
Again, Alex says:
Cigars keep best when in one of these, from a word meaning moist
I know this for no good reason at all.
I can’t help but sit here, watching Jeopardy, and silently imagine a game of wits between my father and I, wondering who might get the correct answer first were he to be beside me now. Would he be impressed with me like I was with him so many years ago?
Alex Trebek lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer in November of 2020. This signified the end of yet another connection to my father I held dearly. Something we used to share, now never to be the same.
I’ll continue to watch, and answer into the air, and remember.