More than a Game Show

My first introduction to game shows was by my Grandmother, in the early 80’s.  I would lay on the floor of her trailer, in a forest of orange shag carpet.  She sat behind me in a beat up recliner smoking cigarettes with her hair in curlers, drinking reheated coffee and shouting out the answers.  We watched Bumper Stumpers, Let’s Make a Deal, Chain Reaction, Press Your Luck, The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy.  I was very young and rarely got anything right but loved this time and these shows.  

As the years passed and some of these games faded away, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy remained, and were my nightly routine.  I was very good at Wheel of Fortune, as word puzzles have always been easy for me, but Jeopardy was hard and I loved that.  There were some categories I would never get as they didn’t hold my interest, but other categories I kicked butt at.  If you were in the living room while I was watching and dared to speak when Alex was reading the question, you got the dirtiest of looks.

Alex was a huge source of joy for me.  So smart and so sassy.  I didn’t know if I had a crush on him, or wanted to be him.   I smiled as he threw his quips at the contestants when they answered incorrectly.  In later years his remarks seemed more canned or polite, likely due to the changing climate of political correctness.  I did adore the brash, biting Alex from earlier years.  He always made me laugh.

As soon as they allowed Canadians to apply to be contestants on the show, I applied annually.  You take an online test, that is fast and stressful, before moving on to the next step.  When you take the test, you have limited time to read the question yourself, think of the answer, and then type it and click okay.  This is far worse than shouting the answer at the TV willy-nilly.  I never made the cut, but never stopped trying either.  I knew being a contestant on the show would be stressful, but it was a dream of mine.  

I heard he was unwell and followed his story and kept watching.  I enjoyed the interview he did with his wife at home talking about their life, and his battle with cancer, and how he had lived a full life.  I forget how he phrased it but he said he wasn’t exactly young and had done it all.  I thought he was getting better but I know cancer is brutal and unpredictable.  It also took my grandmother.

I was heartbroken to hear the news this morning.  Alex inspired me to be the proud nerd I am today.  Saying he will be missed, is not enough.   

“My life has been a quest for knowledge and understanding, and I am nowhere near having achieved that.  And it doesn’t bother me in the least.  I will die without having to come up with the answers to many things in life” ~ Alex Trebek

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