I was fixin’ my hair this morning, musing about Jeopardy.
I like to watch Jeopardy; it makes me feel smart. There I loaf, upon the sofa, yelling out the answers with no pressure. I have no “signaling device” to contend with and don’t have to ring in. If I read ahead, I can gleefully answer before the contestants do, and therefore I am smarter then all three put together.
It is a testament to my pathetic obsession with my own superiority that I recall fondly times I’ve watched Jeopardy in public, answering easy-peasy questions left and right, to the admiration of the gathered throng. Actually, a couple of times people have said, “Ooo you should try to get on,” and that’s about it, but hey. You take your compliments where you can find them.
Tras enjoys watching the program with me. He knows all about my vanities and I’m sure it amuses him that I get such pleasure out of thinking I’m the smartest person in the room. (Besides him of course. Tras way smarter than me. I know this because he can remember things like what an amp and voltage are. I never can, no matter how many times it’s explained to me.)
So anyway, back to this morning. I was thinking how occasionally a contestant will admit that the part that scares them the most is having to talk to Alex. Though I have no problem chatting with anybody — even Alex Trebek, should he emerge in Kentucky — but it’s the pressure of having something interesting to tell him that worries me most about my fictitious Jeopardy contestanthood.
What have I achieved in my 50 years on this planet? What are the accomplishments which set me apart from other, ordinary, humans? Failing that, what memorable events have I participated in? Witnessed? Documented?
Sure, there’s all that stuff about eating squirrels and meeting Cheryl Ladd, Tommy Smothers, and Richard Dreyfuss — but celebrity-spotting is fairly ho-hum for the L.A. and New York crowds. The fact that Dreyfuss grasped my hand like a courtier and bowed before me is mildly amusing, but I get the idea I’m not the only tall woman he’s looked up to.
I have birthed three wonderful children, it’s also true, but we all know that any fool can reproduce.
I have an plan to create tasteful and funky jewelry made with antique and vintage Catholic medals — but craftiness is hardly a news flash. Anybody with a Pinterest account can tell their world about their mad artistic skillz.
What would make me a good story? I have no idea. I love to tell others’ stories and I know a good story when I hear one. Hard-pressed, I could even make up a story … but my sad forays into fiction-writing tell a far truer tale of a puny imagination.
I guess it will be up to history to decide if my presence has left a lasting enough mark. When early 21th century writers are recounted, will my name be among them as one who fearlessly elucidated upon the picayune?
Charles Kuralt made it his life’s work to illuminate unseen corners of the human experience. So did Studs Terkel, Ira Glass, and here in Kentucky, Byron Crawford and Bob Hill.
I have no illusions my name would ever be included in a Jeopardy category featuring the most interesting people in the world. Or even in a category about people who wrote the stories of interesting people for others to read.
In truth, it’s my lack of depth in subjects such as state capitals, vice-presidential history, and the British monarchy that ultimately will keep me off Jeopardy.
But truly, I’d never have the nerve to become a contestant. I’d have to admit that the only thing that sets me apart is my ability to correctly answer Jeopardy questions from the safety of my living room.