Everybody's blogging style is different. A lot of people have stuff about their daily lives or interesting stories from their pasts. Me, not so much. I rely on the Three P's, Punditry, Pedantry and Pandering. But this week, I'm going to tell exciting stories from the real life and times of Matty Boy!
It's certainly old news by now but I've only brought it up once on the blog in 62 weeks, so I can say the most interesting thing I ever did by most people's measure is going on Jeopardy! back in 1984. I played for four days, won $25,550 and some fabulous parting gifts.
It's hard to get lucky on Jeopardy!, but in one way I did. On the show before I got on, they crowned a five day champ, who then was retired. No chance to be a Ken Jennings back in the day. This means I didn't have to play against a champ on my first show, and I breezed through that show. I was the only one with positive cash at the end, and so I answered my first Final Jeopardy question alone. I bet big, $5,000 out of $7,100, and I got it right. Truman Capote was paid a big advance to write Answered Prayers, but never finished it. Yay, Final Jeopardy!
So we go to the second show, I'm feeling pretty good and I'm blazing through the early questions when I hit an Audio Daily Double in the category of Toys & Games. Okay, I design games for a living, I'm a musician AND a stunted adolescent. Is this perfect or what? I bet the whole $2,000.
"A true Daily Double!" Alex Trebek says in admiration. I think he really likes saying that. "Listen to the lyrics of this toy titled song."
I should have known you'd bid me farewell
There's a lesson to be learned from this and I've learned this very well...
And... I got nothing.
"What is Little Toy Balloon?"
"Ooooh, I'm sorry. What is Red Rubber Ball?" Alex corrects me.
Yes, the 1966 hit Red Rubber Ball, sung by The Cyrkle, because back then it was all about the funny spellings. Did you know that it was written by Paul Simon? Of course you did. I, too, know nearly everything important to know about this song now, but when it could have made me a couple grand, I knew bupkiss!
So it's months after the taping and the show is airing. I'm at home taping the shows for myself, and the commercial break was just moments after I cratered.
The phone rings.
"Hello." I answer.
"You think you're pretty smart."
"You think you're pretty smart, don'tcha?" The voice repeats.
"Do I know you?" I ask.
"No. And you didn't know Red Rubber Ball, either!" BANG goes the phone on the other end.
Yes, someone went to the trouble of looking up my name in the Palo Alto phone book, called me just to remind me that, Hey Mista Jeopardy! Champ. I GOTCHER DAILY DOUBLE RIGHT HERE!
I was kinda sorta famous for about a week. People from my past called me and I was asked at supermarkets if I was that guy on Jeopardy! But this particular moment of fame is the one I remember best, and as you should recall, this week It's All About Me™!