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JEOPARDY! Contestant For Hire

Stay with me, I’m going somewhere.


Bucket-List for $600 please.

Answer: Blaine had a blast doing this...

What is: being on JEOPARDY!?


There’s no specific figure, but in almost 40 seasons, the total number of contestants on JEOPARDY! is over 15,000 but not yet 20,000. They feature 400-500 contestants a season. So I feel fortunate to be a member of this group.


After their testing process, they encouraged us to practice at home with our buzzers (i.e. clicking a pen) and keep studying. My thought was: “How do you study everything, everywhere, all at once?” Months later, I got the invitation to compete and spent the next few weeks cramming 3000 trivia questions. I even found factual errors in several Trivial Pursuit questions. (HASBRO, call me. You need an editor.)


Let’s do Relevance to the Job Market for $1200.

Answer: Trivial knowledge has this to do with employment…

What are: the types of intelligence?


Here is a personal subject of interest: cognition. I’m not referring to the 8 intelligence types that indicate how we learn, how we operate, and our stronger abilities: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, linguistic-verbal, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential.


The types of intelligence I mean are crystalized and fluid. Unlike JEOPARDY! co-host and actual neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, I’m no expert—but the facts and skills we learn throughout our lives are known as crystalized intelligence. Fluid intelligence is the quick analysis and critical reasoning we develop as we grow. In simplest terms, it’s the difference between what we know and how we think.


JEOPARDY! is a test of both. No one’s breadth of knowledge could possibly span all time and space to answer each question from factual information stored in our brains. So that’s when fluid intelligence comes into play. Knowing the category and finding the hints hidden within the clue, the mind must piece it together. Hopefully. And you better do it quickly because you’ve got to buzz in before the other two contestants.


Competing on JEOPARDY! is balancing these two intelligences. Each relies on the other to think around corners while holding many things in the mind at once. It’s not just about knowing facts but making deductive leaps. You must understand how to break down the available information—FAST—despite the pressure, cameras, and audience. And that Final Jeopardy theme is maddeningly brief and taunts you with the weight of Time itself.


I’d like Employable Skills and Talents for $2000 please.

Answer: A JEOPARDY! contestant must be this…


Be decisive. Be clever. Be quick. Be willing to risk it all. Be able to bounce right back after a mistake. Be focused. Be personable. Be knowledgeable in myriad disciplines and current affairs. Be determined.


BUZZ. I’m sorry. We needed that in the form of a question.


What could these skills and talents do for you? Try me.


And how did I do? Tune in Tuesday, 2/14 to find out.



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