If It Weren’t for Game Shows, I’d Learn Nothing New

I know it’s a sad thing to admit to, but lately, it seems that much of what I am learning comes from watching game shows.

For example, thanks to watching Jeopardy over the past couple weeks, I’ve learned that TLC is the band that sang the song “Waterfalls” in 1995 and that Calvin Broadus is Snoop Dogg’s real name.

But that’s nothing compared to the frightening fact I learned today while watching America Says.

The question was part of the bonus round, and it was the first survey question posed.

It went something like this: “What man’s body part keeps growing as he gets older?”

Before I saw the first letter, I quickly called out “Belly”. But it soon became obvious that was wrong when it was revealed that the first letter was “E”. So my next guess was “ego”. But that was wrong as well, and then then the contestant answered “ears” – and that was correct!


I had never heard of this fact before, and just because it was the correct answer didn’t mean I had to believe it.

I later asked my wife the question, and she immediately answered “ears”, even without the clue that the first letter was “E”. Has she been noticing this over the years, and was kind enough to never bring it up?

So when I had some time, I later went to Google to see if I could verify all of this, and apparently it’s true.

In July 1993, James Heathcote and a group of his colleagues set out to test whether or not men’s ears grow as they age. They measured the ears of a randomly selected group of 206 of their patients over the age of 30, and calculated that ears increased by an average of 0.22mm per year – a centimeter (or just under half an inch) over 50 years.

Heathcote’s findings were backed up by Japanese data published in 1996 and by an Italian study in 1999. The latter concluded that men’s ears were significantly larger than women’s, that ears did tend to get bigger as people got older, and that the growth occurred in both men and women.

And it’s not just your ears; your nose gets bigger as well.

But it’s not due to actual growth.

It’s gravity’s fault. As you age, gravity causes the cartilage in your ears and nose to break down and sag. This results in droopier, longer features. 

So I’m not sure what’s worse – the idea that my ears are going to get bigger and bigger as I get older, or that I had to find this out by watching a Sunday morning game show.

It makes me think of a twist to the story of the Big Bad Wolf:

“Hey, old man – what big ears you have.”

“The better to listen to game shows with…”

28 thoughts on “If It Weren’t for Game Shows, I’d Learn Nothing New

  1. Ego—I like your answer, Jim. Too bad our hearing doesn’t improve as our ears get bigger. Sometime I’ll have to count how many times my wife and I say “what” in one day. I’m sure it would be off the charts.😎


    1. I’m starting to wonder if our neighbors can hear our TV, even though our windows are closed. I think I’ve increased the volume a little bit each year…


  2. Who’s to say that ego wasn’t a possibly right answer? Sometimes, on Jeopardy, they accept alternative answers.

    We love trivia, and I recently learned on a trivia game what’s the part of a man’s anatiomy that can grow x4 their size? (Hint: The range decreases with age. Hint 2: it starts with a p…)

    Answer… pupil 😉


    1. Ego may have been in the top 5, but they were looking for the number one answer. And as for your trivia question, you had me going in a different direction there for a bit! 🙂


  3. Ego? Hahaha… good one.

    I never knew that ears did this. Interesting.

    And they said watching tv rots your brains… well, trivia game shows seem to be a good way to grow brains. 😀


    1. thanks, jomz, it’s good to know it wasn’t just me that didn’t know. And as far as TV is concerned, I’m guessing the rot and the growth cancel each other out. 🙂


  4. My first answer was prostate. Try Cash Cab. It is like Jeopardy but with lifelines, and losing gets you booted from the cab. All time favorite – The Price Is Right. Even Calvin Broadus hosts a game show now. Game shows are about as close to reality as TV gets.


    1. Prostate would have been the perfect answer – I wish I had thought of that (even though it wasn’t what they were looking for in the game). I have enjoyed watching Cash Cab on occasion – some of the questions seemed pretty challenging. I’d say Jeopardy is my all-time favorite, and for some reason I enjoyed Deal or No Deal as well. I like how you threw Calvin in there – thanks to Jeopardy I now know who you are talking about! And you’re right, game shows seem to be completely unscripted.


  5. I knew about ears, Jim, but I thought it was only men’s ears. I didn’t know the reason but drooping makes sense. How unromantic! I like both your answers though and would have ticked them on a test. 🙂


    1. I agree, it’s not very romantic to think about. And the game show was only looking for the top response; perhaps my other answers may have made the top 5, and as salsaworldtraveler points out, prostate would have been a great answer as well.


  6. Now I understand Pinocchio’s problem!

    I actually did know that about the ears and the nose. Yet another wonderful perk of aging.

    If it makes you feel better, I learn things from game shows, too.


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