The answer is, “This gameshow host was actually Canadian but is considered an American treasure.”
“Who is Alex Trebek?”
As much as I would love to write about the election and my thoughts on the day and everything that has followed thus far, I instead want to focus on the passing of the smartest man on television, if only because he had all the answers already.
Alex Trebek was as much a part of my childhood as Little League baseball, GI Joes and sandlot baseball where three foul balls equaled an out. Hey, had to speed up the game somehow and we sometimes didn’t even have a catcher.
Every evening in my house, without failure, my dad would sit down in his chair and would watch an hour of game shows – Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! While Wheel of Fortune was his thing, and the quicker he could solve the puzzle the more enjoyment he got from the show, Jeopardy! was my jam! The unveiling of the categories was akin to me opening a pack of baseball cards and hoping I got a rare one I could flip for more cards, even if I didn’t know what some of those categories actually meant.
I was a kid. I had no clue what “Potent Potables” were and was definitely lost when the category was “Potpourri.” Even as I got a little older and saw stores selling the stuff, my brain couldn’t process the idea that Jeopardy! had a category dedicated to home décor that smelled good. Yes, I was easily confused as a youngster.
But when it was a category I knew, watch out! Anything sports-related or movie-related I dominated. Music was mostly hit but a few misses and books … one out of five wasn’t bad. The good thing is I never watched a show and came away not knowing a single answer.
Dad would actually keep count on his fingers how many he got right and I would keep track of how many I got. Some days he would win and playfully tease me that I needed to study more. Some days I would win and he would jokingly blame the number of questions regarding pop culture for his downfall.
When the college and teen tournaments came around, I was a trivia machine. I would actually holler at the television when those teens missed an answer, thinking I was some great guru that was robbed of my rightful place on television. Truth is growing up in Del Rio there weren’t a whole lot of chances for us to appear on an actual television show, much less a gameshow. The sister of a friend of mine actually auditioned for the show, going through the pre-screenings and what not and nearly got the invite to Hollywood but came up just short.
My favorite story regarding my love of Jeopardy! comes from my sister, Adriana. When she was younger, and living in Austin, I went to visit her and we wound up going over to one of her friend’s homes for dinner. They were a nice couple and kind of let me watch whatever I wanted on TV. When it was time for Jeopardy!, that’s what I wanted to watch.
Just because I was in a new place didn’t mean I changed the way I watched the show, so I rattled off answer after answer like it was no big deal. Apparently that shocked my sister’s friend who said it was amazing to watch me answer so many questions. She said that’s just what I did with my dad back home and shrugged it off.
Thank you, Alex Trebek, for being such a great person and fun part of my life. May your memory last as long as the show.
Brian Argabright is the sports editor of the Del Rio News-Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.