Just a thought… With the new day comes new strength and new hopes. [Eleanor Roosevelt]
I’d just come home yesterday after a blessedly uneventful visit for a mammogram when the thought of cancer actually manifested itself in words. But this wasn’t about me: it was news on my Twitter feed that Alex Trebek says he has stage four pancreatic cancer and is vowing to fight it.
Here’s the link to the Sudbury native making the announcement about his health: something he wanted to do lest you hear “overblown” or inaccurate reports elsewhere. Good for him – choosing transparency, rather than letting the tabloids or other garbage “journalists” twist the news that is only his to tell, should he choose to tell it.
The 78-year-old Trebek admits that normally the prognosis is “not very encouraging,” but he’s going to fight and keep working; he urges everyone to “keep the faith.” He also jokes that he has to win: he has a contract to host Jeopardy for three more years.
I know it’s unusual for me to write here about two celebrities in one week, but these have been exceptional stories: a 52-year-old dying after a massive stroke and now the news of a man who’s been in our living rooms for decades – almost every single night – as well as in our phones (I have the Jeopardy app) and our computers, facing an extremely deadly disease head on.
Of course, we all wish him the very best. He feels like family.
I don’t really have many Alex Trebek stories; I had the opportunity to intervew him over the phone a few times, including at CHFI and back when I was at CKLW in Windsor/Detroit in the early 1980s.
That latter phone call took place when Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune packed an incredible, seemingly unbeatable one-two ratings punch. Of course, Wheel was the winner – something that the dry and wry Trebek had fun with. When we joked about the rivalry between the two shows, he told us, “Of course Wheel of Fortune has more viewers. For that show you only have to know the alphabet!”
I always loved that line. Mr. Trebek, I’m told, has a deeply twisted sense of humour (something we get to see glimpses of every now and then) and I have no doubt that it will help him through the weeks and months – and hopefully years – ahead.
In the meantime, I’ll watch his show tonight, pausing live TV to give me a chance to answer before the smarty pants contestants buzz in (yes, it’s come to that, my friends). And I’ll sit in otherwise quiet appreciation of a man who just makes me believe that even if he didn’t have those answers (or questions) on a card in front of him, somehow he’d probably know them anyway.
I hope he’s got the answers this time, too. Because my question would be: “What is twenty more years, Alex?”
On another note – if you subscribe to Sirius, please join me at 1:30 EST on Sirius XM Canada Talks with Jeff Sammut. We’ll be having a nice long chat, and I look forward to catching up with him.
I’ll be back with you here tomorrow to wrap up the week. And since it’s Thursday, I’m happy to share with you a link to my latest Walmart article about something happening this Sunday morning. I’m sure you’ll find it “timely.”