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Posted: October 2, 2012 7:11 p.m.

Competing on ‘Jeopardy’

My husband and I have very different TV viewing habits. He watches most sporting events, especially football, golf and NASCAR. If there is an old western movie being televised, he will find it. He will also watch endless reruns of any murder-mystery series. I think his all-time favorite is "Lonesome Dove."

I rarely watch sports. I do like "Dancing With the Stars" and "Project Runway." Heidi Klum is an enigma. She is almost 40 and has four children and looks amazing. How does she do it? I also like "Doc Martin" and "Downton Abbey." I am looking forward to its return in January. Shirley MacLaine will guest star as Lady Crawley's mother.

I also like "House Hunters International." I am amazed at how costly housing is and how small living spaces are in other countries. The people who are house hunting never choose the one I do.
I am ashamed to admit that I also watch "Toddlers and Tiaras." It is like watching a train wreck. You know it is horrible but you can't stop watching. I think my favorite TV program of all times was either "Shogun" or "The Forsyte Saga" which was on PBS. I like TV programs and movies that are visually arresting. I want to see beautiful scenery and imagine that I am there.

But my husband and I do watch some TV together. We both like "Masterpiece Mystery." We like Inspector Morse. And we both watch "Jeopardy."

We yell out answers to the "answers" on "Jeopardy," and we probably, between the two of us, get maybe 40 percent of the answers. He knows sports and is good at American history and Southern geography. I usually know the answers in the literature and art categories and sometimes music. I can get about half of the European history and geography questions.

I really gloat when I know the answer to Final Jeopardy and none of the contestants do.

Sometimes I instinctively yell out an answer and am surprised when it is right. I wonder where in the recesses of my brain I found that piece of trivia, why my brain decided to remember it and how it was able to retrieve it. I owe some of it to Art in the Dark, a class all freshmen were required to take at UGA. Why do I remember that stuff? It is basically useless.

I once went to a taping of "Jeopardy" in Atlanta with Joseph, a local legend in hair dressing circles. The audience was admonished not to yell out answers. The announcer said he knew we were used to yelling at our TV, but we could not do it in the studio. So I am not embarrassed to admit that I yell at the TV while watching "Jeopardy." Apparently everyone does.

My husband says I should audition for the program. But I know my limitations. I do not have the lightening reflexes of those young men and women on the program. It takes time for me to retrieve the information needed, and by the time I have decided I know the answer, those young people have already buzzed in. I think they have to hit the buzzer before they actually realize they know the question. Look how often they buzz in and cannot come up with the "question."

And I am reaching the age when I can see the person or place I am trying to name. I can tell you their relatives or anything you want to know about the place, but I cannot, for the life of me, come up with the correct name.

I am told that this particular problem in not a precursor to something more serious. It is just a result of getting older.

I once thought it might be nice if the producers of the show had senior "Jeopardy," something similar to the tournaments with college and high school students or celebrities.

But then I thought that if takes others my age as long as it takes me to come up with the answers, it would not make for exciting TV. We would all go to sleep waiting for someone to hit the buzzer.

I guess I'll just stick to yelling at the TV with my husband.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at ptravis@covnews.com.

 

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