With the reliable slog of crap we’re exposed to on the internet, it can be hard to feel, you know, genuine human emotion.
But, like the smattering of road salt cutting through the icy roads I grumpily walked to work along this morning, this video of Jeopardy host Alex Trebek choking up during Final Jeopardy! will melt you a little bit.
In the clip from Monday night’s episode, Trebek, 79, went to contestant Dhruv Gaur for his answer to a question about famous phrases.
The question was “In the title of a groundbreaking 1890 exposé of poverty in New York City slums, these three words follow 'How the.' ” The correct answer is “other half lives.”
“Dhruv, you’re smiling, I like that,” Trebek. “Let’s take a look at your response. Did you come up with the right one?”
But instead of guessing at an answer, Gaur, who had been trailing his competitors by more than $12,000, wrote, “What is we <3 you Alex?”
When Trebek, known as a consummate professional, read the answer, he choked up and said, “That’s very kind, thank you.” As he told Gaur the answer would cost him $1,995, bringing his total down to $5, his voice caught in his throat.
Prior to the round, Trebek, who has been hosting Jeopardy! since 1984, had revealed to the contestants that he was going to re-enter treatment for pancreatic cancer.
“We were all hurting for him so badly,” Gaur later tweeted. “When Final Jeopardy came up, I could’ve tried to puzzle it together, but really, just kept thinking about Alex, and thought he should know.”
As a Canadian I am bound by duty to mention here that Trebek, who hails from Sudbury, Ontario, is a true Canadian icon. He is probably as close as it gets to being universally loved, and that fondness is clearly just as palpable outside of Canada.
In May Trebek announced that his stage 4 pancreatic cancer was near remission.
However, his progress has since regressed.
The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is grim, with only 9 percent of patients surviving five years.
Trebek has said he will continue to host the show for as long as he can. In an interview with CTV News last month, he said he’s developed mouth sores which make it more difficult for him to pronounce some words.
He said he’s not afraid of dying.
“I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life…if it happens, why should I be afraid of that?”
What a class act. We do <3 you, Alex.