If it’s 7:30 p.m. on the East Coast, you’ll find my husband, Gerry, settling in to watch “Jeopardy.” He positions his plated food on the table in his man cave. When the jazzy lead-in tune begins, Gerry’s posture straightens as if to announce: Let the fun begin! (He’s watching reruns, as he can’t bear that Alex recently passed.)

Come on, Alex, let’s get to the game! He shouts as Alex chats up the guests. Time to play ball, man! Gerry pleads. Ignored by Alex, he shoves a piece of chicken into his mouth.

Chats over, Alex looks to the board. The answer is, the inimitable man intones, the Greek city home to Plato. When Steve from Ohio hits the button and says, What is Delphi? Gerry yells, “No! You moron! Athens!” Gerry, who rose up off the couch to yell at Steve, sits down and gulps from his tall glass of ice water. Steve from Ohio loses 400 points. Alex looks to the other guests: Maria? Tom? Tom from Georgia hits his button. Athens, he says. “Moron!” Gerry shouts from the couch, slipping broccoli chunk into his mouth. Alex says, Sorry, it has to be a question. Tom looks abashed and Gerry rolls his eyes. Maria from California answers correctly. She gets 400 points, Tom loses 400.

Alex calmly moves on: The answer is, the educational method attributed to Socrates.

Maria from California hits the button. Gerry is mouthing the answer but not revealing it to Maria.

What is the Socratic Method? Maria says. Six hundred points are added to her score. Gerry is jumping up and down and punching a celebratory fist to Maria. I walk upstairs to start scrubbing the grease off the chicken pan. I know he’ll be back upstairs promptly at 8 to help me finish up the dishes.


Eventually I hear the syncopated laser music announcing the Daily Double. They’d better get it right or Gerry will be yelling the house down. He runs nearly every day, but he also gets a workout watching “Jeopardy.”

I know there’s an ad when I hear Gerry pounding up the stairs. He plunks another piece of chicken on his plate, fills his glass with ice water and runs back downstairs, spilling water all the way. He won’t be back upstairs to replenish the water until his favorite game is over.

He led a bloodless coup in 1969 to take over this African country, Alex reads the Daily Double answer. I hear a fork slide off the plate downstairs as Gerry yells, “Come on, you morons!” Steve from Ohio says, Who was Gaddafi? A thousand points are added to his score as Gerry shouts, “You finally got one right, you moron!”

Upstairs, I think back to our recent visit with our daughter and her husband, Lawrence. When Gerry asked Lawrence to comment on the stock market, Lawrence replied, “It’s a bond market now, you moron!” We all laughed in happy recognition that Lawrence has become a full-fledged family member.

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