It’s nearly impossible to think about “Jeopardy!” without picturing a moment from late host Alex Trebek’s past. He hosted the iconic game show for almost 40 seasons, leaving audiences with plenty of memories. And as fondly as we remember them, Alex Trebek himself wasn’t one to dwell on the past.
That’s not to say the late “Jeopardy!” icon didn’t reflect or look back at his own memories. But when it came to hypotheticals, Trebek didn’t entertain them in the slightest. He had no use for questions like “What would you have done without ‘Jeopardy’ being part of your life?” and other things along those lines.
He was more concerned with where he was headed as opposed to where he’d been. It just so happened that his past became a major topic of interest for millions of his fans and the show. And especially as he got older, he became more aware of who he was. That led to him putting a focus on being in the present and controlling the things he could control.
In a 2012 interview with The Washington Post, Trebek talked about the limits of his reflection.
“I don’t spend any time whatsoever thinking about what might have been. It is what it is. My life is what it is, and I can’t change it. I can change the future, but I can’t do anything about the past,” Trebek said.
And even if he could have changed the past, it’s hard to imagine him wanting to go through with it. Based on the way he spoke about “Jeopardy!,” he was passionate about the work he did all the way up through landing his iconic role.
The ‘Jeopardy!’ Icon Could Have Ended Up a Garbage Man
Okay, so it was just a summer job in Cincinnati. But you never know, sometimes people discover a knack or passion for something unexpected.
For the 18-year old Alex Trebek, working as a garbage man didn’t exactly inspire his passion. But fortunately, when he got to the University of Ottawa, he had the opportunity to pursue his interest in broadcasting. Granted, it came at the cost of a potential career as a waste collector.
In an interview with Cincinnati Public Radio, Trebek talked about what brought him to Cincinnati in the first place.
“My mother was working for a family as a governess. They were the owners of an apartment complex. And she mentioned that I was going to be out of work for the summer, and they said, ‘Have him come down here, and he could work on one of my projects.”
He spent the summer heat of 1958 working as a garbage man. And surprisingly, he remembered the job fondly. We’re just glad it didn’t stick.