I Lost On Jeopardy

In early 1985 I had a few months where I was laid-off from work and I spent the time haunting the house, doing laundry and walking Picket Duty when the opportunity came up. The Lioness was away at work and our son, the Determined One, spent the day in high school. I fell into an afternoon ritual of turning the TV set on and going about my household chores while game shows provided background noise. My favorite afternoon program to listen to was Jeopardy.

I have accumulated a vast sea of knowledge that is three-fingers deep and this show dropped facts into that very Ocean of Useless Information. It didn’t take long to get hooked on the show, which worked out well because The Lioness loved to listen to it on a small TV in the kitchen while she prepared dinner.

After a few weeks of listening to the show twice a day, a lot of the answers seemed repetitive, as if I heard them recently. I It took awhile, but one day I realized that the Jeopardy show that she was watching in the early evening was the same one that I watched hours before.

An Idea Takes Shape

The Jeopardy show that I watched in the early afternoon was on a cable channel out of Sacramento. Apparently they were broadcasting the East Coast feed of the show, which was 3 hours ahead of our local San Francisco station’s broadcast. Now I began to pay attention to the show and the answers to the questions.

I was subtle at first, at least for me. I took a new interest in helping with the food preparation and as we worked in the kitchen and listened to the TV I would occasionally “drop” the right answers to a question. The Lioness was impressed that I could answer so fast at times. I had to slow down my response time, let her beat me to the punch and then support her correct answer. She did alright for someone without the clairvoyance that I had acquired.

Over time I found myself living life as a character in the movie, The Sting. I had to learn to temper my responses, get one wrong now and then—even though I knew better. Final Jeopardy was always the toughest for me. Should I answer correctly, or should I blow the answer and come back stronger the next time?

I eventually went back to work and started missing the early broadcasts. Now I was without my life saver, my early show. I had to rely on myself and that wasn’t fair, I was on a roll.

Enter the VCR

I started recording the early show and watching the tape between the time that I got home and when The Lioness returned from work. I was secure in my new-found knowledge and a budding savant in my wife’s eyes. Night after night my percentage of correct answers slowly climbed. The challenge for me was to memorize the entire show and be able to nonchalantly drop the right answers as if they were after-thoughts.

Soon my pride took over and it was a struggle not say the correct answers for all of the questions, and that was when my guilty conscience took over. It was one thing to be a goof and be correct now and then, but after four months of slowly crafting the facade of being such a smart guy I felt like a complete hypocrite.

One night I ‘fessed up and came clean to The Lioness. I told her how I knew so many right answers on Jeopardy. To her credit, she forgave me for this seemingly harmless act, but 30 years later there are still occasional ripples in her memory bank when I pull some trivial fact out of my cobwebbed mind. Her doubt usually goes unsaid, but it is conveyed, none-the-less, by an arched eyebrow, a squint in one eye, or a twitch in the corner of her mouth.

These days I get a lot more satisfaction by knowing the answers on my own and that keeps me from taking the easy way out.

Enjoy this musical interlude from another Weird Al.

6/7/19 Update: A look at a real winner on Jeopardy

Note: Featured image courtesy of Google Images.

  18 comments for “I Lost On Jeopardy

  1. June 13, 2019 at 11:44 AM

    I’m a big Jeopardy fan, Allan, and enjoyed this fun tale. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. November 21, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Funny. My late husband played that trick on me. I thought he was brilliant. But it made me crazy. But l loooooooved his intellectual side. 😉


  3. November 21, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Man, if lying about Jeopardy is the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life, you can watch my kids anytime. Not that you’d want to. I got hooked on Jeopardy for a while back when Ken what’s-his-name was setting all kinds of records with winning streaks on that show. The man was a machine. (Ken Jennings?)


    • November 21, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      He was certainly “afire with knowledge” to quote Martin Short’s Ed Grimley character.

      A co-worker set me straight about the difference between information and knowledge: Information is that a tomato is a fruit. Knowledge is that you don’t use it in a fruit salad.

      It’s nice to hear from you, Bill.

      Cheers, Allan

      Sent from my iPhone



  4. vastlycurious.com
    November 21, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    I’ve never had the brain to hold trivia unless it interests me but I admire greatly those that can!


    • November 21, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      It is a knack/curse.

      Sent from my iPhone



      • vastlycurious.com
        November 21, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        I think its special and I REALLY wish I could fix that typo : )


      • November 21, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Your typo is correct now. Sleep well.


      • vastlycurious.com
        November 21, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        Thank you : )


  5. November 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    My favorite show! I’ve become my mother and that means whomever is in the room while I’m watching must be silent — so that they can hear my mostly-correct answers. I wonder who will succeed Alex Trebek.


    • November 21, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      Hello Joyce,

      Thanks for your comment and congratulations on your Motherhood status. Whoever replaces Alex Trebek has some big shoes to fill. He has done a great job for many years.

      Now let’s see if we can clear our minds of the show’s jingle for the rest of the day.



  6. November 21, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Wonderful anecdote–well done. A quick note to let you know that there will not be a challenge next Monday due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. See you on 02 December for the next challenge: Nature. Have a glorious and relaxing Thanksgiving.


    • November 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM


      Thanks for the heads up about your challenge. I hope that you have an enjoyable holiday with family and friends.



  7. November 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Jeopardy is a household favorite around here. I don’t know if I impress my wife more with correct answers or very firmly asserted wrong answers (or questions, just keeping questions and answers in the right reverse order is a challenge). Deb sounds more forgiving than Lynn. Thanks for sharing and BTW, three fingers deep can make a very good drink.


    • November 21, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      Hi Al,

      I go with the “firmly asserted wrong answers” theory. Stick with the one the brung ya.

      As for the last part: A good three finger drink totally depends upon the width.



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