Anticipation, BTS and the Legacy of Alex Trebek
Anticipation – Dan’s Coming Home!
I can hardly believe it, but we haven’t seen our son Dan in about a year-and-a-half. But our little boy (our six-foot tall, 25-year-old, going toward a doctorate, living in his own apartment down in Austin, TX, with his wonderful girlfriend ‘little boy’) is coming home this Thursday. And I can’t wait! It’s like when you are o.k. and you’re o.k. and you’re o.k. and then, as something you really want comes close, you can’t stand it anymore and just want it to come already? That’s definitely how I feel.
This is probably a common parent thing, but when I think about both our kids, I see them as their current, mature (well, pretty mature … lol), responsible, fun, smart, cool adult selves. But I also see in them every phase of their childhoods, from infancy on. I have pictures in my head, pictures in actual photo albums, and really clear, sharp memories of special moments that are so sweet they almost hurt, especially when they are so far from home.
For Dan those include things like the way he used to call out “I love you” when he was lined up to go into school to his kindergarten (and maybe first and second grade) classes, as I waved to him before going back to my car. Or how he’d sit in the back child protection seat in the car on the way to daycare calling out “It’s the sunny part!” on this one particular turn where the sun would stream through the windshield and we’d both squint for a minute or two. I picture his really thin, gangly arms and legs, his big blue eyes, his big smile and beautifully sensitive disposition. Also, his immediate enthusiasm for nearly anything and everything.
When he comes home Thursday, I’ll soak in ‘Dan today,’ with all the same sweet qualities in grownup form. And we’ll also relish the fact that we’re finally getting together again, in person, as a family – Jim, Dan and his girlfriend Jendayi, Jamie, my mom (‘Grammy Gilda’) and even ‘Uncle Larry’ with poodle pups Pepper and Yogi in toe.
Can’t come soon enough!
Fun with BTS*
I’ve mentioned briefly in previous blogs about how I’m pretty turned on and inspired by the Korean pop (‘K-Pop’) boy band BTS. Maybe it was the pandemic, or maybe just my nerdy self, but I – with help from daughter Jamie – collected all the BTS ‘action figures’ over the last year and had a lot of fun putting them in all kinds of situations and scenarios around the house. Yes, we were a little crazy; yes, a little obsessed. But it’s been fun and just one more way to enjoy this musical sensation. They ‘hang out’ together in my closet now but you never know when one or two will pop up around the house.
Jamie and I went to pretty big lengths to collect all seven, some from local Barnes & Noble stores in NY and VA but others we located with some seriously difficult digging online.
Plus, they were, for a time, separated … some on Long Island with me; others in Alexandria with Jamie. And who could forget my first big misstep when I sent Jamie what I thought was the ‘Jimin’ figure she requested (her favorite) and it turned out to be ‘Jin.’ She was really disappointed and a little pissed at me. I told her the writing on the box was tiny and the members constantly change their hair colors and styles … SORRY. (In case you didn’t notice that is Suga in the right photo below with all the ‘sugar’ … enough said?)
To have more clarity now, I used a Sharpie pen to write each of their names on the bottom of one of their shoes – like Andy did with his Woody doll on Toy Story. Jamie pointed out that some had the name on their right foot, others on their left, which I’ve tried to ignore and not let bother me … too much anyway!
The happy part of this story is that they’re all together now … as I said at the time, “Reunited and it feels so ‘joh-eun’” (that last word, of course, means ‘good’ in Korean).
I purposefully posted this in June to celebrate BTS’s eighth anniversary. On a separate note, Happy PRIDE month everyone.
Alex Trebek’s Legacy
While not COVID-related, the recent passing of Alex Trebek was a really big loss and great source of sadness for Jeopardy geeks like me. Alex became a household name and nightly TV fixture for many of us as host of the trivia game show for more than three decades. You really couldn’t talk about one without the other. More on that in my previous blogpost.
Since that time, I also read his memoir and found out more about this admitted enigma of a ‘celebrity’ and it made me respect him even more … from his humble beginnings, to his lifelong persona of humility, humanity and helping others less fortunate than himself. Also, for staying true to the brand he helped create for Jeopardy and always being crystal clear that the ridiculously intelligent contestants were the stars, not him.
When he died, everyone wondered who they could possibly find to fill those giant shoes. And the producers seemed to agree with faithful fans – nobody. Or not one person, right away, anyway.
To my delight, they have done a tremendous job, featuring different guest hosts every two weeks through at least August. In addition to current Jeopardy producer Mike Richards (who I think did a wonderful job stepping in front of the cameras for the first time) to megastars from TV journalism, sitcom TV, even professional football. I’m talking about superstars ranging from Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper, to Mayim Bialik (who beyond Big Bang Theory fame is a neuroscientist, author and film director), to Aaron Rodgers (one of the most highly ranked, long-time NFL quarterbacks). There have been others too, with more to come.
Here’s the part that moves me most and keeps me religiously watching and DVR-ing this fabulous (if intellectually daunting) program: Every single one of these guest hosts brings their own humanity, humility, desire to help others AND overwhelming respect for Alex Trebek to each night’s show. They select the charity that Jeopardy will provide matching dollars to, based on contestants’ winnings (a new aspect of the show). They share their personal stories. Mostly, every single one of them has just about welled up in tears when talking about Alex. And each one clearly, much like Alex himself, sees themselves in a supporting role … in this case, to try their best to carry on the legacy of Alex Trebek.
These are people who certainly don’t need the money, fame, work or anything like that … there’s a purity of purpose there and you know they’re missing Alex as much as us at home, and they’re doing their best to keep an historic program going strong. As they would say, in Jeopardy-style answers-as-questions: What is … I love that?!!!!