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Monday, August 5, 2013

I lost on

Today's sign that the Apocalypse is upon us:

Thomas Hurley III is upset that he lost on Jeopardy!

I don't follow a lot of entertainment industry news but this story on NBC and elsewhere is stirring up a tempest in a teapot over a certain 12-year-old boy not being happy about his Jeopardy! loss. Maybe he needs to listen to the old song by "Weird Al" Yankovic to gain a little perspective on his situation:

From what I can determine the host Yankovic used in the video is an Art Fleming look-alike, the iconic show's original host. However, the announcer in the video is the original and distinctive voice of Don Pardo. Maybe the current Jeopardy! announcer should've taken a page from Pardo's lines in the video and told young master Hurley what he didn't win.

For those with an 80's block, and a need for useless trivia, Weird Al's song was a parody of Greg Kihn's 1983 classic (Our Love's in) Jeopardy...

Right now, I'd say the only thing that is in jeopardy is young Mr. Hurley's pending man card application. I've been watching Jeopardy! for years - and yes, I used to watch the original show hosted by the suitably grave and apparently knowledgeable Fleming, who sadly passed in 1995.

I'm not 100% sure what the official rules are for Final Jeopardy but I've seen contestant after contestant rocked during regular and double Jeopardy for things as innocuous as a question pluralizing something that is meant to be singular.

Quick note for the uninitiated: In Jeopardy! all of the contestants responses have to be in the form of a question. For Mr. Hurley and his fellow contestants, the Final Jeopardy answer (i.e. clue) was:

Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, 'a fit and necessary war measure'.

The correct response was, of course, "What is, 'The Emancipation Proclamation."

Unfortunately for Mr. Hurley, his written response said, "What is the Emanciptation Proclamation", and he was adjudged to be incorrect due to his misspelling of the word Emancipation. I would hazard a guess that veteran watchers (and no few contestants) would agree completely with the ruling. Personally, I'm waiting for Ken Jennings to weigh on on the subject. Perhaps more than anyone, as a record winner of 74 consecutive episodes of Jeopardy!, Jennings is eminently qualified to speak on all matters relating to answers and questions.

Ken Jennings and the no-doubt envious Trebek

And let's not forget that Mr. Hurley, had he spelled Emancipation correctly, would still have come in second. So really, he's just whining about the public shaming he's taking for being either a poor speller or just a regular person like all of us - except for Ken Jennings - who would succumb to the pressure cooker that is Jeopardy!.

In closing, to quote a great line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "You lost today kid; that doesn't mean you have to like it."

But it does highlight a life skill that young Master Hurley needs to learn and employ:

How we respond to loss in life is equally, if not more, important than how we respond to winning.

What do you think?



  1. I would have to agree with you. I think that how we respond to loss says a lot about who we are as people. I can't tell you how many children I know that are not gracious losers. Their parents are not teaching them to be gracious losers, and many of the parents themselves are not gracious losers. I personally feel that while winning makes you feel good, perhaps this young man should have been thrilled that he was even able to compete on Jeopardy.

  2. Exactly! As I inferred with my Indy comment, he doesn't have to like losing, but take the high road! I would be over the moon to be on Jeopardy...I'd lose like a dog but I'd love being there :-)


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