Because I have suffered ignomious defeats at three recent trivia nights, I’ve started recording Jeopardy! and playing along to assure myself that I still know something about trivia (and it appears I do, as I get a number of the questions right).
But the thing I’m re-learning is that Jeopardy! is the center of all human knowledge.
I knew this in the olden days. By “olden days,” I mean the period when I watched the show daily. This would have been about the time where the first child was born, where game shows presented a good short bit of television to watch while feeding a baby. This even precedes my brief stint as part of the Jeopardy! contestant pool a couple years back.
Now, what do I mean about Jeopardy! being the center or nexus of all human knowledge? I mean that when one plays along with the program, one often finds the trivia in the clues elsewhere.
Examples just from the last couple of weeks:
- A category including talking about naming the television show by the family name included a family named the Bravermans. I didn’t know it, but if I’d watched the show a couple of days later, I might have remembered it from this headline that appeared a couple of days later on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Web site:
- A clue included a photograph of Nick Offerman as character Ron Swanson, and I got it almost right (I said “Rich Swanson”). My wife asked me how I know, and I mentioned my comparison of Ron Swanson to Archie Bunker. Then, as we fast-forwarded through the commericals, Archie Bunker’s face appeared in a commercial for some collection or another. It continues to appear in commercials during the program, but I’ve not stopped to see what collection of DVDs or cable channel it’s promoting.
- A clue about books about baseball featured George Will’s A Nice Little Place on the North Side (the answer was the baseball team, the Chicago Cubs). Yesterday, I get to this book review in the Wall Street Journal (because I am in fact eleven months late in reading the physical newspaper).
- There’s a category called Europe in Latin, and I’m familiar with all the names because I’ve reading Julius Caesar (although I don’t do as well as one would hope).
These are only a few examples, but this happens all the time. I see the things from the clues on Jeopardy! elsewhere, or I get the answers because something on Jeopardy! I have recently seen in real life.
I know there’s a behavioral science explanation for it, that I’m keyed in on these bits of trivia because they’re isolated on a program I enjoy watching, but come on, this is the Internet. I have to somehow make this a conspiracy or a panic like the D-Day Crossword Panic of 1944 (which undoubtedly will be in Jeopardy! this week).