The man was obsessed. I remember 7:30 like clock work, dinner and dishes would be done, and my Father would be sitting with the biggest smile on his face, waiting for the start of Jeopardy. It began innocently, we had been posted back to Canada, We would hear Alex Trebek’s voice and the beginning of Jeopardy, and for that half an hour, you could not move, for fear that my Father would miss an answer.
So it was no surprise that when we were posted to the Philippines, my Father would find some way to watch Jeopardy. Channels were scarce, we had about 11 channels of all Filippino entertainment. There was an ability to get a channel from the American base, it was illegal, but it was in English. In the days of almost everything being on the black-market, my Father chose his illegal activity (tongue in cheek, apples were also on the black-market) carefully, he probably weighed it, after all, he was the most straight-laced human being, didn’t even like to jaywalk in asia. He ended up going for the illegal channel from the American Base, he claimed it was for us kids. I am pretty sure everyone in every embassy got the same channel, it was the only channel you could get international news, and of course, JEOPARDY.
My Father’ s Jeopardy obsession continued, he would reply “what is…” to the most obscure questions, to pop culture we were shocked he knew anything about. Most games, he would have beat the other contestants. It became a family addiction, we would try to reply before my Father, and my Mother got really into it. Soon, his addiction made the gossip rounds in the Embassy on a slow day, and it became known by other’s just how much my Father loved Jeopardy, and word got around to his golfing buddy, friend, and colleague, the American Ambassador.
I am not exactly sure how it came about, but Alex Trebek came to the Philippines for a round of testing on the American base. Now, my Father had already met presidents, pop stars, ballet dancers, news anchors, and goodness knows who else, he didn’t really care about them, never fazed him. Knowing what a huge fan my Father was, the 2nd in the American Embassy, who I don’t even remember invited my parents to the base to meet Alex Trebek at an event, it was basically an all American event with my parents the token Canadians, meeting the adopted American (Alex Trebek is actually Canadian, but the United States adopted him pretty quickly). My Mother, bless her, was excited, but not to meet Alex, no, she was excited that my Father was finally meeting his idol. My Father on the other hand, attempted to hide his nerves, he began yelling at my Mother to finish getting ready about 2 hours before they had to leave. He paced, puffed on his pipe, and bent down on occasion to pet our dog to calm himself.
I was left behind to wonder how their meeting would go, and what questions my Father would ask. Maybe Alex and my Father would become fast friends and play golf!
The next morning, we sat at breakfast. My Father looked like a kid who had just met Santa, my Mother had an amused smile on her face. It turned out, my father could barely string two words together when he first met his idol, Alex Trebek. A man who never got tongue-tied, or felt intimidation from anyone, was completely at a loss for words. My Mother jumped in, and in her usual way, talked animatedly and broke the ice. It turned out, Alex Trebek went to a rival University, and so began their evening of joking.
My Father would recall that night with complete embarrassment. His budding bromance with Alex Trebek didn’t turn out the way he had pictured it, but it makes for a funny story, and I even found photographic evidence, of course, only my Father’s pipe and arm made the cut, my Mother of course is seen laughing with Alex, probably at my Father’s expense!
Have a great day,