Guys, I just have to say that mortality is a huge fucking bummer.
Today, Alex Trebek, arguably America's favorite (and best) Canadian export, announced that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. That's not something most people bounce back from. Trebek vows that he will, that he'll fight it. Because he's still signed on for three more years of Jeopardy!, the long-running quiz show he's hosted since 1984. Oh, Alex.
Look, I'm going to be frank with you. I'm crying. Alex Trebek feels as immortal as Jeopardy!. It's something that my mom turned on every night at 7:00 p.m. Then, when I moved away it was something my roommates and I watched together. We recorded every episode because who had the time to watch them when they aired? There was a time when we had 80 episodes saved. We'd go through them three at a time. I obviously tried out for the show multiple times. I never made it past the online test. But hey, there was always time.
Apparently not! Pancreatic cancer is not necessarily a death sentence, but it's pretty close. Think about Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze. Sorry, that's grim. I don't mean to be hopeless. Who knows, Trebek feels larger than life, maybe he's up to the challenge.
After all, Trebek, that silver fox, underwent brain surgery earlier this year for a subdural hematoma. Jeopardy fans (me and my family) thought that the worst of it was over. Trebek is 78-years-old, but he's spry with the spirit of a 50-year-old. Hell, post-surgery he even switched up his look coyly on social media. I was team Bearded-Trebek, obviously.
Jeopardy! itself has seen a resurgence recently. The tried-and-true gameshow had tired, some (NOT ME) would argue. But new engaging contestants (looking at you, Austin Rogers) revitalized it. Just yesterday, the show wrapped up its first ever All Stars Tournament, a special series that brought back fan favorites (like Rogers, thank god) and Seattle's favorite nerd, Ken Jennings, to captain teams of other recognizable contestants. Each teammate would take a round—regular Jeopardy, Double Jeopardy, or Final Jeopardy—and accumulate a total. They even had a Jeopardy! fantasy league a la fantasy football. It was fresh, it was new, it was still Jeopardy!
But now, I don't know. Trebek is sticking to his usual script of putting the show above all else. Still, I can't bear to see him whither away. I don't want the remainder of his life to be the Jeopardy! theme slowly ticking toward the end.
Sure, 78 years is a long time to live and there are enough episodes of the show to live out my own remaining years with some version of Alex Trebek (I mean, my roommates and I never did get through our recorded episodes), but it won't be the same. Especially if my dreams of ever being on the show (which will likely never come true because who has the time?) are realized.
For now, I'll be like Trebek and grit my teeth and speak as calmly as I can.