Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

You Owe Me, Ken Jennings!

Have you ever had one of those moments where you suddenly realize what your purpose is? I did a couple of weeks ago, when I was watching a commercial for a new TV game show. First, though, some background information is in order...

People who know me know that my brain is full of all sorts of trivial facts; for some reason, I have a good memory for things I read, and I'm very good at recalling these facts. (My brain makes room for all that information by getting rid of things like the names of non-famous people with whom I actually interact.) Everyone I've ever wasted in a game of Trivial Pursuit has said that I should go on "Jeopardy", but I was always afraid to try out -- I didn't want to embarrass my shipmates (and myself) by going on the show and looking like an idiot when all the categories turned out to be about Opera or Fine Wines. When I was doing my twilight tour in San Diego, I was in a job where I got home early enough to watch Jeopardy most nights, and I think SubBasket was getting sick of me yelling answers at the screen and calling the contestants bad names when they missed "easy" questions. She finally said: "Look, you don't have any more excuses for not going on the show. Get online and sign up." I realized she was right, so I called up the show and they told me when to show up for the screening.

When I went to the contestant tryout in June, Ken Jennings was about 8 days into his run on the show. They have you take a 50 question test of what are supposed to be Final Jeopardy-level questions -- they never say what the "passing" grade is, but I've heard that it's about 35. Then they came out and announced who had "passed" the test, and sent everyone else out. After that, they had us play a practice game with the buzzers (it was in the studio where they film the show, but we didn't get to go up onto the stage) and told us all of us had made it onto the contestant's list for the upcoming year.

They also never say how many of the people on the contestant's list actually make it onto the show, but I've seen numbers of 50-70%. Unfortunately for me, the 2004-05 season was different. Due to Jennings' phenomenal popularity, they decided to run an "Ultimate Tournament of Champions" that knocked out about 3 1/2 months from the schedule of "normal" games. As a result, I was never called, and my dreams of fame and fortune went unrealized. Since they wouldn't have had the Ultimate Tournament if it wasn't for Jennings, I blame him.

That's why I was so excited to see the commercial for the new show "1 vs. 100". It talked about how one person will go against a "mob" of 100 people, who include valedictorians, Mensa members, school-teachers, and... Ken Jennings. It was then I knew what I had to do -- get on the show and beat Ken, one on one.

I'd be a perfect contestant. I'd be obnoxious and totally overconfident. I'd say things like, "C'mon, when are the real questions gonna start", and I'd dismiss the non-Ken Jennings "mob" members with snarky comments. Best of all for the producers of the show -- I would keep going until it was just me vs. Ken. I wouldn't be like the first guy they had, who took the money and ran with over a third of the mob still left. I'd bring the tension; I'd bring the drama; I'd bring the (intellectual) pain to anyone who tried to stop me from getting my mano a mano shot at Ken.

And then I'd have that last sig I needed on the Great Qual Card of Life.


Blogger Gryphonette said...

It's a delight when your path is laid out so clearly in front of you, isn't it? Right down to being lined on either side with those solar-energy pathway lights. ;^)

The path is straight. Your duty is clear.

Kenny's toast. =8^o

Poor fellow! One could almost pity him.


10/15/2006 9:04 AM

Blogger SC said...

With my luck I'd get the questions about Oprah.

10/15/2006 10:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It just goes to show that we submarine sailors are an extremely intelligent lot. Nobody in my family will play trivial pursuit with me, and my dad (NAV ET1(SS)) was a notorious card player - poker and cribbage were his weapons of choice. He could NOT be beat. I've seen some of the dumbest of submarine sailors excel in the surface community. That Jeopardy guy never would've had a chance...

10/15/2006 3:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thing you guys are used to going deep...cause it's getting REAL deep in here ;)

10/15/2006 5:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Byron, your just jealous because you flunked the Lefty-loosey/Righty-tighty Test to get into submarines.

Or did they give you the Port side facing forward/Starboard side facing aft Test? That the one given on alternate days in case someone writes down the answers and tries to pass it to his buddy taking the test the next day.

BTW, you might want ask a recruiter what ASVAB scores are required to qualify for submarine duty. Just because you volunteer doesn't mean you get to go. I'm pretty sure you'll find them higher than the rest of the Navy. Ahem.

10/15/2006 7:58 PM

Blogger Mike Pittman said...

Well just so ya know, there are some of us old Air Force types that are the same way. You squids ain't got all the brains! Now, if I could just figure out how to make that head full of trivia pay off without having to go on TV.

Great Blog! I'll be back!


10/16/2006 3:42 PM

Blogger Trickish Knave said...

I got that sig on my card in 2001 when an SK1 and I were on the Wheel of Fortune when it came out here to Hawaii.

10/16/2006 4:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sonarman, I build, modify, and repair ships for a living. I've been doing it for 35 years. I even know WHAT the words "port" and "starboard" really mean, and you could blindfold me, lead me to a space, let me take the blindfold off and all I got to do is find a bulls eye or label plate over a hatch, and I'll find out where I am real fast. So go sh@t in your flat hat, chief ;)

10/17/2006 3:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in the contestant pool that season as well, and thought the freakin' UTOC would never end! If you're thinking of organizing a class-action suit, let me know :)

12/17/2006 12:18 AM


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