Every year as our part of the world stretches toward summer, the warmer weather brings with it a much-needed diversion, be it the Ice Bucket Challenge, planking or throwing slices of cheese at your baby’s head.
James Holzhauer is the hero, the diversion we didn’t even know we need.
A sports bettor by profession, Holzhauer is molly-wopping everyone who contests him in “Jeopardy.” As of Monday, he had won 13 consecutive matches, mowing opponents down like spring grass and closing in a $1 million in winnings.
There are rumors the upcoming Scripps National Spelling Bee is taking out a restraining order.
Holzhauer, who calls being on the show a lifelong dream, is chasing “Jeopardy” legend Ken Jennings, who won $2.5 million over 74 matches. He said he is rooting for Holzhauer.
In this current age of braying ignorance, when critical thinking is akin to sedition and elitism is dog whistle for literacy, Holzhauer’s astonishing run assures us knowledge still holds value.
His quest couldn’t have come at a better time. In him we have something we all can root for — a pop-culture respite from the knife fights breaking out as a result of the Mueller report, which is shaping up to be the biggest Rorschach test in American history.
We can’t even count on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, who have gone all M-I-6 in wanting to keep the birth of their baby a private affair instead of a mass-media hot mess. How dare they?
Holzhauer’s remarkable run proves yet again it is nerds who rule the world, not the bully boys, the profane or willfully ignorant.
Not the jocks, not the famous, not even the rich. This is America, which means you can stack money to the ceiling and still not know how to spell “capital gains tax.“
Mom next door
It’s easy to forget this country was founded by nerds — people who studied other governments and philosophies to create a nation unique in that it endowed average people with an unprecedented amount of power.
One of them, John Adams, wrote, “Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.”
Nerds are the ones who not only love knowledge, but also the pursuit of it. They find their checkmates by poring over minutiae no one else can be bothered to read.
In congressional hearings, Rep. Katie Porter of California has been making mincemeat out of bankers with her encyclopedic knowledge of finance. Unlike some of her colleagues, Porter isn’t being asked to pose for the cover of “Rolling Stone.” She looks like the mom next door — if that mom was a forensic accounting savant.
If you doubt nerds rule, consider that for all their machismo and swagger, it wasn’t the G-men who got Al Capone.
It was the bookkeeper.
Reach Charita M. Goshay at 330-580-8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.