Take it from a one-time Jeopardy! champion (read: … and one-time Jeopardy! loser): it’s not easy being up under those lights, especially if you’re possessed of the type of – ahem – disposition that tends to characterize most of the show’s contestants. If you’ve made it onto the Jeopardy! stage, you’ve probably got a bit of an ego about your smarts, which adds a huge liability to the game: no one will ever remember any of your correct answers, because they’re expected of you. But if you go all facepalm on national television – no matter how brilliant you may otherwise be – it will live with you for the rest of your life.
I experienced a little bit of this when I lost on the show by whiffing on a Final Jeopardy question that involved the GM bankruptcy, a process that I witnessed the genesis of from within the Bush White House. It was not my finest hour. That’s why I envy Becky Sullivan, who also came up short on Final Jeopardy last week, but did so in the most awesome fashion imaginable:More