Vest: One of the big problems with having a ‘bucket list’ is …

By Jake Vest |

One of the big problems with having a “bucket list” is that as time goes by, your bucket can get leaky. It is not that you are not capable of doing things you wanted to do, the things are just no longer capable of being done.

Tonight is a sad reminder of that — the last episode of Jeopardy with Alex Trebek as a host, which means I will never get to be a contestant with him. That means when he does his interview, I won’t be able to say, “so, Alex, my interesting little story is that you once bought a cartoon from me!”

It was relatively early on in the cartooning career, about 35 years ago. His producer, Rocky, whose name I still see on the credits, called me to buy the cartoon pictured above. I was so flattered that I would have just given it to him, but he proceeded to “bargain me up” to $100. Neither one of us had any idea what an original cartoon was worth, and I think he was just trying to be fair. That just seemed to be the kind of people they were.

So, I ended up with a check with Alex Trebek’s street address and home phone number, which was enough of a trophy that I didn’t want to cash it. Until Alex his ownself called to ask about it when he was balancing his account. I am not sure I spoke so much as sputtered about keepsakes and autographs until he said something like “don’t they have copy machines in Florida?”

I am just amazed that through all those years of maybe not always using the best judgment that I never ended up calling from some bar in Aspen or Steamboat Springs during a ski council party, just to see who answered. I would have regretted that because I am sure Alex would have given me one of those disappointed looks he gives contestants when they guess the wrong opera. Nobody wants to be looked at like that by your hero.

On the other hand, I do wish I had called sometime over the last few months just to tell him thanks for being a class act. He is going to be missed at our house.

Jake Vest is longtime editor, photographer and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel who now is a teacher.

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