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Ken Jennings: Putting the image of men in Jeopardy
September 1, 2004
by Bob Holt

Every now and then someone comes along who is an affront to everything that man has stood for since the beginning of modern civilization.

And the question is: What's the deal with Ken Jennings?

The male population has mostly been minding its own business for the past few months since Mr. Jennings began his record 38 game winning streak on TV game show Jeopardy, which he tries to extend after Labor Day. Men are usually found deep in thought on the couch, deeply pondering the unlimited possibilities for our future – such as the possibility of getting another beer. But now we find that the bar has been raised, thanks to Ken.

Ken Jennings is a thirty year old software engineer from Utah who has demolished all of the records set by previous Jeopardy champions. His hobbies are hiking, painting, and memorizing the thirty volume set of the Encyclopedia Brittanica and the entire Internet.

But Mr. Jennings still has one problem that is beyond even his control. Underneath of all his years of accumulated knowledge, Jennings is still a guy.

He most likely had similar experiences in meeting his wife as other guys have had, such as remembering to call back within a month after the first date. Because of Jennings' natural male habits, chances are his wife was so supportive of his efforts when he left for the Jeopardy tapings that she offered such reassuring words as "You're not actually planning to wear THAT to the show, are you?"

Because of guys' dressing habits and numerous other household chores (which we swear we'll take care of right after the game) it's gotten to the point where all women need guys for anymore is procreation of the species and occasional heavy lifting during redecorating phases.

It's not that guys don't respect the intelligence and ability of a man like Jennings. But knowing the middle name of all the presidents won't do him the least bit of good when the wife tells him that her mother is coming to visit for the weekend.

And with this amount of knowledge being shown by one man, women may begin to expect the rest of us to finally remember a few little things for a change, like her birthday and how many children you both have.

This sensitivity issue is likely to come up because writing is another one of Ken Jennings' hobbies. Many writers are found to be at their most sensitive and inspired during the AM hours. The average guy finds himself to be at his most sensitive during the PMS hours, where one wrong move will allow him to be hit in the face by an Amana Radar range.

And being a guy, at some time Jennings probably called home to his wife from California with the announcement that he had only packed enough suits for a few days of show tapings, in the hope that the Magical Laundry Room Gnomes could Fed-Ex him more.

So far Jennings has been "right" with his Jeopardy responses over one thousand times. Since he is a card carrying member of guys, this is probably about 999 more times than he has been right in encounters with his wife, allowing that we discount the correct answer, "I do."

I also don't want anyone to think that guys are jealous of Ken Jennings. We feel that he represents the intellectual capacity of the male population in quite an accurate manner, and we would have been more than happy to set records on Jeopardy ourselves, if only the program had offered categories such as "Scratching In Front Of The In-Laws: Yes or No?" or "Famous Songs Played From Armpit Noises."

And can you imagine how the next champion will feel who follows Jennings on the program, assuming there is another champion before Jeopardy is canceled or Alex Trebek finally gets on Ken's nerves? Jennings should be a pretty easy act to follow, huh? Anything less than a two-week championship will have as good a chance at being successful as an in-depth interview with Jessica Simpson on Meet The Press.

What guys need to see on Jeopardy is a two-week run of single day male winners, in order to return the level of male incompetence to a tolerable level. Women contestants don't need to win fifty days in a row because guys have learned that when they think they have all the answers, women will require that they rephrase those answers into the form of questions, often begging ones.

And the answer will still be no, even to Ken Jennings.

Anyway, in all likelihood, the only person who can defeat Mr. Jennings on Jeopardy at this point would be Mrs. Jennings herself. That's because Mrs. Jennings would be able to come up with that one single question in the universe to which even a brilliant mind like Ken Jennings would be unable to respond.

"Does this outfit make me look fat?"

(Bob Holt is a guest writer for 2 Walls Webzine)

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