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Not everybody gets a chance to shine on national television, so it's understandable that more extroverted people take advantage of the opportunity by doing something that stands out. Some say hello to their mom, some wish a loved one a Happy Birthday, and some point one specific finger out in a showy manner. That's what happened when Stanford student Viraj Mehta re-appeared during Jeopardy!'s traditional College Championship, where there was definitely some bird-flipping going on while Alex was going through the contestant stories segment. Watch and judge for yourself.
Considering how much focus went into keeping that single digit extended, I don't think there's any possible way for Mr. Viraj Mehta to get away with any explanation that doesn't include the sentence, "Yeah, I was definitely sticking the finger just then when I was telling my story in my sweatshirt." The real question is really whether or not he's sticking the bird at Alex Trebek himself, who is only trying to learn about the guy's mathematical formula for eating pizza the right way. We should all be so lucky as to know how to eat pizza smarter. (Alex has been known to get fresh on occasion, though, so maybe there was beef backstage.)
The pragmatic side of anyone would want to assume that there was nothing actually amiss during Viraj Mehta's story, but as Alex was getting his last question in (beyond where the tweet cuts off), the contestant called the host a gouse, which is a slang term used to call someone an idiot or even worse! . . . Okay, so Mehta was probably talking about mathematician Carl Gauss, one of the most influential mathematicians to ever walk the planet, and was just using his last name to sound super-cool in front of a TV legend. Probably.
Still, I don't think I'm going to be convinced that The Case Of The Non-Missing Middle Finger is just an innocent misunderstanding. Mehta might not have been directing it at Alex, after all. Perhaps there was someone from the University of California, a rival school, who was convinced that the Stanford-goer would go home empty-handed. Taking a moment to blast that other person down a notch would be a good use of one's Jeopardy! story time, if that's what it was. Then again, maybe this contestant simply had no love for Alex Trebek's sick rapping skillz.