MANDY FLYNN: I'll take personal quirks for $200, Alex

FEATURES COLUMN: What is, 'Personal information that makes you cringe?'

Mandy Flynn

Mandy Flynn

There are nights when I walk out of the room intentionally, go to the kitchen to get more tea or make a quick trip to the bathroom. Sometimes I flip the channel, looking for something, anything, to take up two or three minutes of time before flipping it back. And sometimes I’m just too tired to move so I sit there and watch them – inarguably some of the most awkward moments on television - the chats between “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and the too-smart-for-their-own-good contestants.

You are on the most intelligent show on television in front of millions of people and you have 30 seconds to tell people about yourself. What would you say? How would Alex Trebek introduce you to the world?

“It says here you enjoy gathering dog hair and turning it into yarn that you knit into hats. Tell us more about that.”

“You have over 6,000 in your collection of toilet paper tubes. Very interesting.”

“You once ate three beetles and a mosquito on a dare. Now, was that very filling?”

Listening to the stories some of these smart people choose to share with the world makes me cringe. Others make me laugh. Some are boring. Most all of them, though, leave me asking, “Why on earth would you tell that on national television?”

It got me to thinking, if I were ever on “Jeopardy!,” what would I choose for my witty introduction? It would have to be totally original, so as not to make me seem just like the other two brainiacs I was competing against. It would have to be true, of course. Honesty is important.

And as long as we are being honest, I must make something perfectly clear – there is no danger of me ever — EVER — being on “Jeopardy!” Ever. The few times I have answered questions correctly, it was because I had seen the same show a few hours earlier on another channel. I was impressive, all right. And I would have gotten away with it if I hadn’t happened to know who invented the first table saw. Tabitha Babbitt. What? Everybody knows that.

So, I probably won’t ever be on the show. But, just in case a meteor crashes to earth and its electromagnetic energy pierces my brain and makes me suddenly super-duper smart, I should be prepared to make my introduction. We all should. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Let’s see … something interesting …

Like … I once was at an hors d’oeuvre table behind former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neal and he asked me if I thought a sandwich was tuna or chicken salad.

“What did you respond?” Alex would ask me.

I picked it up, smelled it, and told him it was chicken salad.

Or … my ears are uneven.

Or, maybe … I didn’t know my right from my left until my father wrote R and L on the palms of my hands in magic marker. I was in the third grade. (And you wonder why I’ll never be on “Jeopardy!”?)

Still, it’s good to be prepared so I just may start collecting a list of interesting tidbits about myself that I can one day be asked to share with Alex Trebek and the world. And on second thought, I may leave out the one about my ears being uneven. Though true, people might stare.

Unless, of course, I could hook up with the woman who knits hats out of dog hair. Problem solved.

Who needs a meteor? I can be super-duper smart all by myself.

Email Mandy Flynn at flyn1862@bellsouth.net.