How Alex Trebek influenced my life

This Editorial Cartoon was drawn by Joe Heller.

ONTARIO

I was on my way home from visiting one of my best friends and my mother in southern California when I received the first of many push notifications from my phone’s news app about the death of Alex Trebek. As your neighborhood game show enthusiast, this hurt. It really did, don’t laugh!

Growing up, I had a rough childhood, with people getting on my case because they saw me as weak or inattentive. I just wanted calm in my life and game shows, especially Alex’s, helped provide that calm. Best of all, I didn’t get made fun of when I didn’t know the answer when I was watching. Years later I would learn I’m mildly autistic. Go figure!

One of my favorite things about Alex was his versatility. Younger readers may be unfamiliar with his earlier works, but thanks to reruns on USA TV Network I have long known about his work on shows like “Classic Concentration” from 1987 to 1991 (It’s essentially “Memory” with two layers), and his brief stint hosting “To Tell The Truth” in 1990.

The man did quite a lot of game shows, as a matter of fact.

Being from Canada, he naturally got his start in Canada, providing sports commentary for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before getting his feet wet hosting game shows up there.

Have I ever talked to Alex? Actually, kind of. I sent him a get-well card after his second heart attack in 2012, and he sent me a thank you note, signed by him, telling me how much it meant to him. I still have that letter. No, I will never sell it. Thanks in advance for offering to buy it!

Alex is one of the many great hosts of our time who got me interested in becoming a game show host. In fact, when I was a teen I started hosting little quiz games for classmates in my high school, then later on for my young adult ward at church (Here’s to hoping they all had as much fun playing as I did hosting).

My grandma once tried out for Jeopardy! and found Alex to be a bit rude, but I gather that’s because she didn’t understand his sense of humor like I do. I like Canadian humor; Often awkward, sometimes blunt, but always candid.

For me, Alex made it feel okay to embrace not only knowledge but fun, as well. It’s the fact that he was willing to poke fun at himself every once in a while that I don’t feel so awkward about my own eccentricities. The man once hosted part of a Jeopardy! game without pants, for goodness sake!

MAN am I gonna miss that guy. He was a big part of not only my life but part of television history, specifically a part of television history I have dedicated much of my free time to study.

He’s part of why I’m involved in media; I wish to one day leave my mark on the world of game shows. Even if I never get the chance, I still hope to. I thank you for bearing with me as I bare my soul about my game show fandom, as well as my aims, and for allowing me to enlighten you along with the Argus staff each edition.

For providing one more half hour of calm in my life each day, Mr. Trebek, I thank you for your support.

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