It was Monday, October 6, 2003, and it was evening. I and Steve were watching Jeopardy! In Steve’s bedroom.
“Wow, I’m just so amazed at how much knowledge three contestants possess every time I tune into this game show. And especially Alex, I think he pretty much knows everything.”, Steve spoke.
“No, he does not.”, I replied.
“Yes, he does.”, Steve replied. “What proof do you have that he does not?”
“The proof is those Jeopardy! Cards you see Alex holding every episode. Those are where all the answers are. Not from his head.”
“I’ll have to look that up later on the web to see if that’s true.”
“Hey, I’ve got a great idea!” I exclaimed. “We can make up our own pretend version of Jeopardy!, call it Pretend Jeopardy!, and have our friends and family play along with us.”
“Hey, that does sound like a great idea.”, Steve realized. “There’s still one problem though.” “Who is gonna be the host of ‘Pretend Jeopardy!’?”
“I have a simple solution. We both host it whenever we can. Not together though.”
“Okay, great!” Steve exclaimed. “Then I guess it’s settled.”
Then I and Steve stopped talking and went ahead and continued watching Jeopardy!.
“Boys, time for dinner!” Anna shouted across the hallway.
“Well, I better get out of here and start having my dinner as well. I’ll see you tomorrow, Steve.”
“Yeah, okay. See you tomorrow.”
I got up, got a few of my belongings, and went back to my place. “I wonder what happens if a contestant finishes with a negative score.”, Steve told himself. Then Steve turned off the TV and left the bedroom.
It was Tuesday, October 7, 2003. It was recess time at Robert Burns Elementary School. Steve was talking with his other friends on the school playground while I and Kevin weren’t there.
“What’s this new game called again?” Ariana asked Steve.
“It’s called Pretend Jeopardy!. It’s a new game I and Jamal came up with last night while watching Jeopardy!. It’s basically the pretend version of Jeopardy!”
“So, why not call it Jeopardy!?” Amanda asked him.
“Because it’s not the real Jeopardy!.”
“Oh, and what’s next?” Brad asked him. “Pretend Wheel of Fortune? Pretend The Price Is Right? Pretend American Idol?”
“Dude, we already did Pretend American Idol last school year.”, Nathan replied.
“Oh.”, Brad realized. “Well, I take that last one back.”
“Come on, people.”, Steve replied. “I think It would be fun. None of us have ever done this before. And I think we all should try something new. And besides, you don’t get to be a kid forever.”
“Okay, Steve.”, Amanda replied. “Since I only get to be a kid for eight more years, I’m in.”
“Count me in too.”, Ariana replied.
“Count me in three.”, Cody replied.
“Me four.”, Jessica replied.
“Me five.”, Nathan replied.
“And me six.”, Brad replied.
“Okay, then I guess everything is settled. We can all start at my place after school. I’ll see you all there.”, Steve replied. Then Steve went off to enjoy the remainder of recess.
“Hey, weren’t we supposed to have band practice after school?” Brad asked them.
“I guess that can be postponed until Wednesday.”, Amanda replied.
Then after that conversation ended, recess went ahead and continued.
Later, it was Tuesday evening. I, Steve, and some of our other friends were down in the basement of the apartment complex. Cody was down there as well. And the game was finally set up.
“Okay, people, here’s how this game will go.”, Steve began. “There will be two games. Three contestants per game. Those contestants will be standing behind those three chairs over there. You all will only have six seconds to answer a question in time and must answer in the form of a question while the clues will be provided in the form of answers.”
“Steve, I think we all know how the game goes.”, Jessica replied. “We all weren’t born this morning.”
“Congratulations, Jess. You just earned yourself a spot in the second game for interrupting.”, Steve replied. “Okay, any questions before we go ahead and get started?” “No?” “Okay, let’s get started.”
“I’ll host the first game.”, I added. “Then Steve will host the second game. Okay. Places, people.”
And everyone went ahead and got in their proper positions.
“Now, there will be three categories and four clues under each category.”, I informed. “The first clue will be worth 200 bucks, the second clue will be worth 400 bucks, the third clue will be worth 600 bucks, and the fourth and final clue will be worth 800 bucks.”
“Hold on, we’re getting paid money for this?” Brad asked me.
Steve replied, “Of course, Brad. Imaginary money. That’s why it’s called Pretend Jeopardy!. Otherwise, we would have no college savings.
“Alright, here are the three categories.”, I informed. “Movies, television, and video games. Amanda, since you’re my girlfriend, you get to start us off.”
“Thank you very much. I’ll choose-.”
“Woah, woah, woah!” Brad exclaimed. “Hold on there for just one second! That’s totally unfair!” “Why does she get to go first just because she’s your girlfriend?”
I replied, “Because there’s no champion. And it’s the champion that always goes first. Also, she’s in the first spot. And the first spot is where the champ always is. Plus, she’s the hottest girl in elementary school.”
“Ha! Take that, third contestant!” Amanda exclaimed with a smile.
“Um, hi.”, Nathan replied. “Second contestant over here.” “Can we please get this game started already or are we all gonna be here all night?”
“Okay, Amanda, what is your first selection?” I asked her.
“I’ll take video games for 200.”, Amanda spoke with a grin.
“This video game console was released by Sony in 2000, and lets you play DVDs and audio CDs.”
Amanda raised her hand. “What is the Sony PlayStation 2?” Amanda asked.
“Video games for 400.”
“This video game’s main character is a friendly purple dragon.”
Amanda raised her hand. “What is Spyro the Dragon?”
“Video games for 600.”
“Looks like you found the first Daily Double of the game.” “How much would you like to wager?”
Then Amanda went ahead and thought about it for a short moment. “Let’s make it a true Daily Double.”
“Okay, here is the clue.” “This gaming console was released in late 2001 and replaced Sega’s sixth-generation gaming console.”
Amanda raised her hand. “What is the Xbox?”
“That’s correct. And now that doubles your score from 600 to 1200. You’re doing great so far. Next selection, please.”
“Video games for 800.”
“One of these Nintendo gaming consoles was released back in 1991.”
Amanda raised her hand. “What is the Super Nintendo Entertainment System? Or SNES for short?”
“That’s correct. And now that pushes your score up to two grand.”
“Movies for 200.”
“This fictional character was the father of Kevin in this 1990 Christmas film.”
Brad raised his hand. “Who is Peter McCallister?”
“That’s the character.”
“Movies for 400.”
“This fictional character was one of the five kids who weren’t rotten and won a trip to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.”
Brad raised his hand. “Who is Charlie Bucket?”
“Movies for 600.”
“A couple of kids team up as spies in this 2001 film.”
Brad raised his hand. “What is Spy Kids?”
“Success. Next selection, please.”
“And I’ll go ahead and take the last movies clue.”
“This man provided the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story.”
Brad raised his hand. “Who is Tim Allen?”
“And that’s an additional 800 bucks for you.”
“I’ll take TV for 200.”
“This Full House cast member was born in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.”
No one had the correct answer in time.
“And that cast member is Dave Coulier. Make another selection, Brad.”
“TV for 400.”
“The PowerPuff Girls are made of sugar, spice, everything nice, and this ingredient.”
Nathan raised his hand. “What is Chemical X?”
“Congrats, Nathan. You are now on the board.”
“TV for six.”
“This city is located at the bottom of the sea and is home to a talking sponge, starfish, and other sea creatures.”
Nathan raised his hand. “What is Bikini Bottom?”
“Right! And now, the last clue. This Philadelphia youth gets into a fight and moves in with his uncle, aunt, and cousins in California.”
Nathan raised his hand. “Who is Will Smith?”
“Correct. And now Amanda and Brad are tied for the lead at 2,000 while Nathan is at 1,800. Now, it’s time for the Double Jeopardy! Round. We’ll be right back after this bathroom break.” Then I waled to the basement stairs and walked up the basement stairs.
Moments later, I was already back inside the basement. “Alright, everyone. It’s time for our Final Jeopardy! round. And the category is weather. Now, here is the clue.” “These are the coldest months of the year.” “30 seconds, players. Good luck.” Then imaginary Final Jeopardy! music began playing in the background as the contestants were writing down their answers.
When all the contestants finished writing down their answers, the imaginary Final Jeopardy! music stopped playing in the background. “Alright, everyone.”, I spoke. “Let’s see what you all wrote down as your final Jeopardy! answer. Let’s start with Amanda. What did you write down?”
Amanda displayed a paper that read, “What are January, February, and December?”
I read the paper. “That’s right. And how much did you wager?” I read the paper some more. “Okay. Now, let’s move on to Nathan.” “And his response was…”
Nathan displayed a paper that read, “What is December?”
“Sorry, Nathan. We were looking for more than one month. And that’s gonna cost you based on how much pretend money you wagered. Okay, let’s move on to Brad. Let’s see what his response was.”
Brad displayed a paper that read, “What is December?”
“Sorry, Brad. Wrong answer. And that means my hot and blonde girlfriend is our winner.”
“Yes! Yes! Yes! In your faces, losers! I win!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You got very lucky this time.”, Nathan replied.
Brad added, “Yeah, I and Nathan are gonna make sure we put you in the red by the end of our next game.”
“Alright, Steve, you can come take over the hosting duties for our second game.”, I told him.
Steve walked over to where I was previously standing as the first host. “Okay, welcome to our second game of Pretend Jeopardy!. Let’s go ahead and meet today’s contestants. Then more imaginary Jeopardy! music began playing in the background.
“First up, we have my little brother from second grade. Cody. Next, we have a black-haired girl who joined our gang last school year and is from fifth grade. Jess. And my returning champion. A beautiful redhead girl who is also from the fifth grade. Ariana.” “And now, here is the host of Jeopardy!. Me.” Then the imaginary Jeopardy! music stopped playing in the background. “Alright, let’s go ahead and get this pretend game show started. Ariana, you get to make our first selection.”
“Hey!” Cody exclaimed. “Why does she get to go first before your own brother?”
“Because I’m the host and I make the rules. And if you have a problem with that, the exit is right up those stairs over there.”
Nathan whispered to Brad, “I feel like this game was set up for the girlfriends to win.”
“Okay, Ariana, go ahead and make our first selection.”
“No problem, food for 200.”
“This famous toaster pastry was first released in 1964.”
Ariana raised her hand. “What are Pop-Tarts?”
“You got it.”
“Food for 400.”
“This has been Jamal’s number one favorite food for the past three years.”
Ariana raised her hand. “What is pizza?”
“That’s two in a row for you now.”
“Food for 600.”
“This was Jamal’s previous number one favorite food back in the late nineties.”
Ariana raised her hand. “What are cheese toast and French fries?”
“Food, last clue.”
“You just found this round’s Daily Double clue.” “How much would you like to wager?”
Ariana briefly thought about it. “I’ll wager 800.”
“Okay, here is the clue.” “It’s the most important meal of the day.”
“What is breakfast?”
“Beverages for 200.”
“This beverage is part of the dairy food group.”
Jessica raised her hand.
“What is milk?”
“Beverages for 400.”
“This beverage came out this past spring and is a remixed version of Sprite.”
Jessica raised her hand. “What is Sprite Remix?”
“That’s the answer we were looking for.”
“I’ll take beverages for 600.”
“This beverage is sometimes abbreviated as O.J.”
No one responded in time. And then time was up. “And the correct answer is orange juice. I don’t see how none of you couldn’t get that one. Next selection, Jess.”
“Beverages, last clue.”
“You’re only allowed to drink this beverage at age 21 or over in the state of Michigan.”
Ariana raised her hand. “What is beer?”
“Wrong.” “Anyone else?”
Cody raised his hand. “What is wine?”
“That’s right, little brother. Now, you get to go ahead and pick the next clue.”
“Music for 200.”
“This is a great song to play at a Halloween party.”
Cody raised his hand. “What is Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr.?”
“That’s who you gonna call for the correct answer.”
“Music for 400.”
“This woman is known for her blonde hair.”
Ariana raised her hand. “Who is Amanda?”
“No. We’re looking for a woman. Not a girl.”
Cody raised his hand. “Amanda.”
“What?! No! I just said Amanda isn’t the answer we’re looking for!”
Jessica raised her hand. “Who is Blondie?”
“Blondie is the correct answer.”
“Music for 600.”
“This well-known rapper starred on a hit TV sitcom back in the nineties.”
Ariana raised her hand. “Who is Will Smith?”
“Yes. And now, the last clue.” “This woman is the younger sister of Michael Jackson.”
Ariana raised her hand. “Who is Janet Jackson?”
“Yes. And that concludes our first round. The Double Jeopardy! round is coming up after this short break.”
Moments later, it was time for the “Final Jeopardy!” round.
“Okay, contestants, it’s time for our final round. And here is our final category. And that final category is astronomy. Now, here is our final clue.” “This is the largest planet in our solar system.” “30 seconds, players. Good luck.”
Then the imaginary “Final Jeopardy! music began playing again. Thirty seconds passed by. And the imaginary “Final Jeopardy! music stopped. “Okay, let’s see what everyone came up with. We’ll start with the cutest redhead of all time. And your response was?”
Ariana displayed her answer that read, “What is Jupiter?”
“Yep, that’s the planet we were looking for. Now, let’s move on to Jess.”
Jessica displayed her answer that read, “What is Neptune?”
“Yeah, no. And finally, my brother’s response. And what did he write down?”
Cody displayed his answer that read, “What is The Sun?”
“Yeah, that’s wrong as well. Also, The Sun is a star. Not a planet.”
A few moments later, it was eventually determined that Ariana won the game.
“Alright, after adding up all the totals, it has been determined that Ariana is the winner.”
“Yes! Yes! Yes! I won! In your face losers!”
“I knew this game was set up for the girlfriends to win.”, Nathan spoke.
“And now that you’ve won all that pretend money, please tell the pretend folks out there what you’re gonna do with it.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Probably save it for college, buy some video games, or maybe even go to Disney World.”
“Okay, is this Jeopardy! thing over now?” Brad asked. “Because if it is, I’m ready to head back home.”
“Yes, Brad, the Jeopardy! thing is over now. You can all head back home.”, I replied.
Everyone else that didn’t live at the apartment complex started leaving.
“Well, that sure was pretty fun.”, I commented.
“Yeah, it sure was.”, Steve replied. “And I had fun hosting it as well. No wonder Alex Trebek has been hosting Jeopardy! for the past nineteen years. You know, I might wanna take his place the day he retires.”
“Yeah, but you would have to become famous first. And I’m not sure no one can replace someone as great as Alex.”
“I can’t wait to get Kevin to play our new game.”
“And I bet my Mom would have a fun time playing this new version of Jeopardy!”
“Well, we already got some of our friends to play. I think we should start getting our families involved.”
“Yeah, that would be awesome. Okay, let’s do it.”
“Okay.” “We’ll start tomorrow at the earliest.”
“Deal.” “I’m gonna head back home now. See ya, Steve.”
Then I went ahead and started exiting the basement of the apartment complex.
“Come on, Cody. Let’s head back home.”, Steve told him.
Then Steve and Cody went ahead and exited the basement of the apartment complex.
It was Monday, October 13, 2003, and it was evening. I, Steve, Kevin, and Stacy were all down in the basement of the apartment complex. This time, Kevin was the host.
“Alright, ladies and gentlemen.”, Kevin spoke. “Welcome. And thanks for tuning in to another episode of Pretend Jeopardy!. Let’s go ahead and meet tonight’s contestants. First, from downstairs, Jamal. Second, he’s my first-ever little brother, Steve. And finally, the love of my life, Stacy. Now, here are our categories. Junk food, cable TV, and colors. Go ahead and make our first selection, Stacy.”
I whispered to Steve, “I knew he was gonna have his girlfriend go first.”
“Junk food for 200.”
“These toaster pastries have been around since 1964.”
Stacy raised her hand. “What are Pop-Tarts?”
“You got it.”
“Cable TV for 200.”
“Watching this channel is like watching an FM radio station TV.”
Steve raised his hand. “What is MTV?”
“You got it, little bro.”
“Colors for 200.”, Steve replied.
“This color can be made by combining blue and yellow.”
All three of us raised our hand at, almost, the same time.
“Jamal was the quickest one to raise his hand, so he is the one that will earn the attempt towards our current clue. The clue is all yours.”
“What is green?”
“You got it.”
“Junk food for 400.”
“These fried pork skins are also called this.”
Stacy raised her hand. “What are pork rinds?”
“Cable TV for 400.”
“This station only shows cartoons and has been on the air for the past eleven years.”
Steve raised his hand. “What is Cartoon Network?”
“Colors for 400.”
“This color sometimes represents death.”
I raised my hand. “What is black?”
“Junk food for 600.”
“These things are known for tasting like honey.”
Stacy raised her hand.
“What are honey buns?”
“Now, hold on a minute!” Steve exclaimed. “Aren’t honey buns junk food?”
“No interrupting the game show, please. Thank you.”, Kevin replied.
“Cable TV for 600.”
“This channel is known for providing news on cable.”
Steve raised his hand. “What is CNN?”
“Colors for 600.”
“Mix red and blue to get this color.”
I was the quickest one to raise my hand. “What is purple?”
“Purple is the answer.”
“Junk food for 800.”
Then the game continued. And it was still extremely close from that point moving forward. Also, the game was extremely close in the second round. Then the second round ended, and it was time for the third and final round.
Kevin spoke, “Okay, it has been an extremely close game so far with all three contestants tied for the lead. But now it’s time for the third and final round. And the category for this final round is location. Now, here is the clue.” “This is the smallest planet in our solar system. You all have thirty seconds, players. Good luck.”
Then the final round began. And the imaginary “Final Jeopardy!” background music began playing again. We were all busy writing down our answers on paper. Later, the background music stopped. And so, did the last round.
“Okay, let’s see what everyone wrote down.”, Kevin commented.
All three of us displayed our answers. And every answer read, “What is Pluto?”
“You’re all correct. And you all wagered zero dollars.”
“So, I guess that means we have a three-way tie.”, Steve replied.
“What?!” Kevin exclaimed. “But how in the world is that possible?!” “I’ve never seen the real game show finish with a three-way tie!” “I repeat, how is that possible?!”
“Isn’t there some kind of tiebreaker round or something that could determine a winner?” I asked them.
“Yeah, what he said.”, Stacy added.
“I’m not sure.”, Kevin reported. “I’ve never seen a tie on Jeopardy! in my entire life.”
Steve added, “And a tiebreaker round would probably take up too much time since Jeopardy! is only a half-hour show.”
“So, what do we do now?” I asked them.
Kevin replied, “I guess this game ends in a draw. So, to conclude, all three of you are winners. Congratulations to everyone on a job well done.”
Steve added, “Well, I’m glad we all get to share the glory of being victorious.”
Stacy replied, “Yeah, but now I’m kind of tired of playing Pretend Jeopardy!.”
“Yeah, so am I.”, I added.
“Yeah, me too.”, Steve added.
“Okay. Well, maybe there’s another game all four of us could play together.”, Kevin replied.
“On a school night?” Stacy asked him. “No thanks. I’ve got to rest up for middle school tomorrow morning. I’ll see you later, Kevin. Bye, everyone.” Then Stacy went ahead and started exiting the basement of the apartment complex.
“Well, I’ll see you two later. I’m out of here for now. See ya.”, Kevin told us. Then Kevin went ahead and exited the basement of the apartment complex. Then it was just I and Steve standing inside the basement.
“Well, we both better start getting prepared for school ourselves.”, I told him.
“And who knows?” “Maybe one of us might actually see a tie happen on the real Jeopardy! one day.”
“Yeah, probably in 2014. As always, I’ll see ya later. I’m out of here.” Then Steve went ahead and walked up the basement stairs of the apartment complex and exited the basement of the apartment complex.
“Ah, who am I kidding? Alex will probably retire by the time I see a tie on Jeopardy!.”, I told myself. Then I went ahead and stopped talking to myself inside the basement of the apartment complex before heading back up to my place before school.