Dream of: 11 March 1996 (2) "Jeopardy"

I was in a room with Carolina; we were discussing my having been chosen to be a contestant on the television game show Jeopardy. We were both happy by the fact; however Carolina suspected me of having somehow cheated with something to do with the show. To ascertain whether I had cheated, she had me hold out my hands while she put some liquidy substance on them. If I had cheated, traces of the act would still remain on my fingers; the traces would cause the substance to glow like something fluorescent.

As soon as Carolina had finished putting the liquid on my fingers, I excused myself by telling her that I needed to go to the bathroom. She looked at me suspiciously, but she didn't stop me; I quickly made my way to the bathroom. Once inside, I shut the door behind me and sat down on the commode. I looked at my fingers; just as I feared, they were beginning to glow. I quickly picked up a towel and began energetically trying to wipe the fluorescent substance from my hand; but I was uncertain whether I would be able to.

***

I was thinking about what I was going to wear when I took part in the Jeopardy show. I was debating whether to wear a suit, or just a sports jacket and tie. Perhaps I should buy some new suits. If I were on the show for five days, I would have to wear five different outfits; I couldn't wear the same outfit more than once.

I was also thinking about how surprised people would be to see me on television taking part in the show. I might make some little statement when the show started, saying something like if I could do it, then anybody could do it.

***

Carolina and I had arrived at the studio where the show was located. We were still outside, and before we went into the main studio, I wanted to go to one of the smaller offices behind the studio. I had heard that a woman I knew who reminded me of Ramsey (a fellow law student in 1982-1983) worked in the back office. Since I knew the woman, if I talked with her, she might be able to tell me the answers to some of the questions before I took part in the show. If I had the answers, I was sure to win.

***

I was on the set of the game show, and the game had begun. I had arrived late and the show either began as soon as I arrived, or it had already started. I needed a few minutes to get my bearings, and I felt that I had started out at a disadvantage. The contestants were four men, one woman, and myself. When the time for a break arrived, three of us had a score of zero, and only two people had scored any points. The scores were all written in chalk on small chalk boards right behind us.

The host, Alex Trebek, stepped away for a few minutes and left us to ourselves. I looked at the board behind us, and saw the list of the different categories. As I looked at the categories, I realized part of my problem was that I hadn't even known what the categories were, and I at least needed to know the categories if I were going to compete.

The woman was also looking at the board with the categories; I was surprised when she suddenly reached up and pulled down one of the cards with the name of the category written on it. Underneath the card was one of the questions, and apparently also one of the answers.

I was immediately upset that she would be cheating that way. Just then Trebek returned and I quickly denounced the woman, demanding that she be disqualified. Trebek agreed and the woman was forced to leave.

The game began again. This time I was paying better attention, and I pressed my button to answer a question. I thought the answer was the title of a movie called "The Year of Living Dangerously." I spoke the answer in a throaty garbled voice which I could barely understand myself. But Trebek understood me, said my answer was correct, and gave me points for it.

As the play continued I heard another question for which I thought I knew the answer. The question was who was president of the United State when a certain piece of social legislation was passed in 1922. My mind began racing. At first I thought it might be president Franklin Roosevelt because I knew he had introduced so much social legislation. But then I realized the answer couldn't be Roosevelt, because he hadn't been president in 1922. I knew the three presidents right before Roosevelt were Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. I also knew one of those three presidents had died in office after two years, so one of the three had been president for six years. And I knew if I had time to think it through, I could figure out when each man had been president; but I didn't have time. I had to make a quick decision. I thought the question was probably a trick question; one of the presidents had probably died in 1922, so it was difficult to tell which of the two presidents of 1922 was the correct answer. I thought it was probably either Harding or Coolidge, and was just about to decide on Harding, when one of the other contestants answered the question. It was Harding. I had missed my chance and the other person had received the points.

I again glanced at the categories, wondering which category I would pick if I had a chance. One of the categories was "Wars." I thought I knew a lot about the names of wars and when they had taken place, and that if I were to pick a category, that would be it. But to my surprise, when someone else picked a question in the category, I didn't know the answer to it. The answer was "The China War." I had never heard of a war called "The China War", and I was surprised by the answer.

Trebech stopped the game to take another break. I was glad he did because I was having another problem. In front of me was a small white button which I had been pushing when I thought I knew the answer to a question. But I recalled that when I had watched Jeopardy on television, I had noticed how each contestant had a hand-held device which he or she could press to signal that they knew the answer. And now as I looked at the other contestants, I saw that they all had the hand-held devices.

I was obviously at a disadvantage, because no such device was at my station. However, I saw another station where there was a hand-held device. I quickly moved to the other spot. But I immediately saw yet another problem. There wasn't one, but two different hand-held devices. And the one I picked up had three different buttons on it. I turned to the contestant next to me and asked him if he could explain the device to me. He was polite and tried to explain, but his explanation was rather complicated, and I didn't completely understand him.

As I continued to try to figure out the device, I noticed Carolina out in the audience. She had an encouraging look on her face, and was holding one of her thumbs up to indicate I was doing well. I looked at the board behind me at the score. I was surprised to see that my score was no longer zero, but was up in the seven hundreds. I thought I must be winning. But when I looked at the other scores, I saw that the fellow down on the end had a score in the nine hundreds. One fellow only had a score in the seventies.

I could tell that Trebek was about to start the game again. I knew we wouldn't have much more time before we reached the final jeopardy round. In that round I could risk as much of my money as possible. I would probably risk everything.

I wondered what the final question would be. I just hoped I would know the answer. Maybe it would be something simple like the etymology of the word "archeology." I thought about how I had recently written the Greek word "arche" in English for something. I recalled thinking how the Greek spelling of the word "arche" was actually written with an "x" so that an English equivalent of the word could be written like "arxe." But when I had recently written the word in the English alphabet I had written "arche" instead of "arxe" because I knew that "arche" corresponded with the word "archeology." But I thought to myself that I needn't spend much time thinking about how to write "arche" because the final jeopardy question wouldn't be as simple as that.

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