Opinion: Our love’s in ‘Jeopardy’


For decades, my wife Mary Ellen and I have been fans of the show “Jeopardy.”  Every night at 7:30, we watch to see how long it takes for us to feel really stupid. I often say, “I used to know that but forgot,” which is pretty much the same thing as not knowing the answer … I mean, the question.

After Alex Trebek died in 2020, the show’s producers ran old episodes featuring the legendary host. I found that unsettling. They do the same with all old game shows. “Hollywood Squares” has had more than 800 different personalities in the boxes. While watching those re-runs, I have to do Google searches to see which of the brilliant comedians are still with us. What about putting some notation under each celebrity’s name to save me the time and trouble? For example:

  • Paul Lynde (died 1982, age 55)
  • Rose Marie (died 2017, age 94)
  • Wally Cox (died 1972, age 48)

No, that would depress me even more. Bad idea.

At 7 p.m., before “Jeopardy,” we usually watch “Wheel of Fortune,” despite neither of us being very good at it. Here’s one that stumped us last night:

  • Topic: Song lyric
  • Puzzle: This __and was made for you and me

Mary Ellen guessed “This hand.” I said, “This band.” The right answer, of course, was “This LAND was made for you and me.” I mean, how embarrassing! We decided to stop having wine with dinner.

During COVID-19, “Jeopardy” fever spilled into our daily lives, since we had nothing better to do. Typically, around 6 p.m., Mary Ellen would say something like:

“Sauteed chicken with green beans and sweet potatoes.”

I’d reply, “What’s for dinner?”

How much more fun can a couple have than that? Now, remember, we are both in our 70s.

Our obsession with “Jeopardy” was evident. Mary Ellen would say to me, “He leaves kitchen cabinet doors open, forgets to close the fridge door and also leaves the garage door up.”

“Who is Dick Wolfsie?” Saying it out loud made me feel like I had been tricked into pleading guilty to these crimes. But I wanted to win.

 While driving, I once said, “I think we’re lost.” I was quickly corrected by Mary Ellen. “Please put that in the form of a question.”

What does Dick Wolfsie say when the GPS isn’t working?”

As we celebrated our 42nd anniversary last week, we reminisced about our decision to get married way back when. Mary Ellen said, “When her husband-to-be had this nutty idea to be a TV personality, she unselfishly quit her good job in Chicago and went with him to Indianapolis.”

“Who was Mary Ellen Swegles?” I said without a moment’s thought.

“That is correct,” my wife said. “That’s exactly the question I was looking for.”