Today we have a story that begins with, “So we were riding elephants in Thailand…” and ends with Alex Trebek asking Shawna if we funded our RTW travel by selling drugs during a commercial break on Jeopardy!
This is going to get weird.
But I warn you… if you are not a nerdy, trivia-show-loving misfit you might be bored to tears. Save yourself the monotony. Just stop reading now.
For the rest of us…let’s continue…
So yes, it’s true…we WERE riding elephants in Thailand. Way back in the beginning of March, with Shawna’s sister and friend Marissa. This was part of our all-too-short time in Chiang Mai. You already know how much we loved the experience (and if you don’t you can find out), but there was one detail which we never mentioned in the post which has actually proven to be fairly important to the course of our journey.
In addition to meeting the elephants in Chiang Mai, we also met an incredible family of five from the US. Mom, Dad, and their three adult children. I remember thinking how awesome it was that this family was travelling the world together as adults. On top of that they were all just people you were instantly magnetized towards: all very interesting, dynamic people. Questions bounced back and forth between us all: where are you from? What do you do? How long are you away for?
And then they stumped us for a millisecond with the following - What do you miss most about back home?
It is so crazy that the answer to this question would have the impact that it did.
The ‘token answer’ of course is family and friends… but instead, we decided to answer honestly. So we said, “Jeopardy!”
For those of you living in the far reaches of Northern Lapland who may not know, Jeopardy is (North) America’s favourite TV quiz show. And it happens to be one of the few shows that Shawna and I watch religiously when we are at home. So although our answer may have been perceived as a joke by some, we were actually being very serious.
Anyways, after another unforgettable afternoon in Chiang Mai we said goodbye to our elephants and our new found friends after exchanging email addresses (with the people, not the elephants), and went our separate ways. We weren’t really expecting to ever hear from them again. And so, we were more than mildly surprised when a couple weeks later we received an email from the father letting us know that if we ever happened to be in the Los Angeles area, they were (somehow) connected enough with the fine folks at Jeopardy, that they could probably get us tickets to watch a show live.
Pardon my french, but “what the ____?”
You’re kidding, right?
I reread the email around forty-seven times, and it said the same thing every time. Unbeknownst to us, we had been riding pachyderms with someone who could get us into a taping of Jeopardy! I couldn’t stop smiling for the next five and a half months.
Of course we told him we would gratefully take him up on his offer. We would have been foolish to pass this opportunity by. There are no bigger fans of Jeopardy out there. Well, except maybe my Mom.
(Skott’s brain freezes. He has an idea.)
What if we could bring Mom down to Los Angeles to see Jeopardy as well??
This made a world of sense. Mom was turning 60 this year, and she has always had a tiny crush on Jeopardy’s host, Alex Trebek.
I figured this might have been bordering on greedy, but I felt it was a special enough circumstance that it was worth trying… and so I did… at this point our friend from Thailand passed us off directly to a few of the fine people at Sony Studios, where Jeopardy is taped.
The next morning I had an email confirming that we did indeed have three tickets to see the taping of three shows on August 29, 2012!
After making sure that she could get the time off work and all other logistics were in order, we surprised Mom with the awesome news – she was being shipped to Los Angeles for a date with Trebek. Get Up And Globe was having one final visitor on their RTW tour!
Fast forward to the morning of August 29th, and you have the three of us, in a full on sprint that would have made Usain Bolt proud, drenched in sweat headed down Washington Blvd in Culver City towards Sony Studios. Shawna and Mom spent the morning applying makeup and donning their heels (gotta look smokin’ for Alex, they said). Unfortunately for them, the dreaded combination of me not being able to read a map, and being too damn thrifty to pay for a taxi may have left them looking a little less ‘smokin’ than they were hoping for (you’re welcome, Dad).
Arriving with moments to spare, things began to look up pretty quick after that. Unbeknownst to us, the superstars at Jeopardy had actually tagged us as VIPs. That meant VIP seating and VIP goodie bags (yeah, that’s right… I am now the very proud owner of a Jeopardy water bottle!) Honestly, we could not have asked for anything more…
…and then Johnny Gilbert (the ‘big voice’ announcer of Jeopardy) wished Mom an early Happy Birthday during a commercial break…
….and then Shawna had a chance to banter back and forth with Alex Trebek (and yes, he did ask if we funded our travels by selling drugs)…
… and then the Crew Clue wished us a ‘happy honeymoon’ and gave us their autographs…
At this point, there really is nothing else to say. Through three tapings of Jeopardy, the three of us were absolutely in awe of our surroundings and still struggled to grasp how truly lucky we had been to have wound up in our situation. I can honestly tell you that, for me, this was one of the craziest, coolest moments of our journey so far.
And then Jeopardy handed us the cherry on the sundae.
In the last of the three tapings which we were able to see, the third category in the first round of Jeopardy was:
You have to be shitting me.
and the answer to the $1,000 clue….
I kid you not:
There is no way that this was random. It’s just not possible. Because of Mom’s 60th birthday, and our long and excessively drawn out honeymoon, our little hometown of Regina, SK became an answer on Jeopardy!
At 1:32PM on Wednesday, August 29th, 2012… we were officially the three happiest people on planet Earth.
For those of you who happen to watch Jeopardy as well, the shows that we saw being taped will air on December 3rd, 4th, and 5th this year. Let us know if you need to impress your friends for any answers. We will do what we can to help you out.
To our American friends we met in Thailand, and to all of the beautiful souls from Sony Studios (including you Alex) in LA, thank you from the absolute bottom of our hearts for one of the most unique experiences we have had over the past 15 months. It is impossible to thank you enough. You are simply outstanding, and have genuinely made a dream come true!