December 22, 2009 4 Comments
A lot of obscure nonsense runs around inside my head. I have to be reminded when my nieces and nephew were born, but I can name all 13 dwarves from The Hobbit off the top of my head. I don’t really know why or how this happens, but the random junk clattering around in there could probably support a few dozen editions of Trivial Pursuit.
In high school, I was on the ever-so-fashionable quiz bowl team. Which was basically a bunch of nerds showing a bunch of other nerds how much smarter they were. We actually had games that were shown on a local cable channel, and you could see the light in the eyes of the other team slowly die as we ground them beneath the boot heel of our knowledge. I actually got a high school letter out of it, which was the closest I’ve ever come to anything involving athletics, but it also revealed to me the idea that trivia could not only be useless, but also competitive.
Then along game the aforementioned Trivial Pursuit game. You remember how you’d win the game, how you’d get to the center, pick a category, and if you got the question right? Well, people used to make me have to answer ALL the questions on the card to win. That certainly didn’t do my ego any favors.
Years later, I discovered bar trivia, the art of tapping away at a little electronic box and impressing a whole new audience — drunk people. And not just that, but drunk people at bars I wasn’t even at. People from all over the country could be amazed — or appalled — at how much junk I knew.
Which brings me to last night. My friend Alfred goes to a local Beef O’Brady’s that hosts trivia on Monday nights. They do it in teams, but he usually played by himself, which meant he’d usually finish second to a team of five or six people. Not a bad performance considering the odds, but Alf wasn’t about to take that lying down, so he brought in his ringer.
Problem was, last night there weren’t a lot of people playing, and we felt bad being a team. So we both went solo.
Doesn’t take a map to see where this is going, does it?
We were tied going into the final round, a round which led to what is simultaneously one of the proudest and nerdiest moments of my life. A question asked why boxes of animal crackers had string on them. Alf and I both stared blankly at our answer sheets. Then the Goldbergian wheels in my head started turning. They’d been asking a lot of Christmas questions. String can be used to hang things. You hang Christmas ornaments. Animal crackers have string so you can hang them on a Christmas tree. Total shot in the dark, but I went with it.
And I was right. Alf just shook his head — he’d missed the question, and now knew that his ringer had come back to bite him, his plans foiled. I raised my arms in victory and shouted, “Kneel before Zod!” Like I said, proud and nerdy. But mostly nerdy. I got a $20 bar tab for my troubles, which will probably cover the cost of when I go back next week and do it again. What hath Alf wrought?
Oh, and by the way, Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Ori, Nori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and Thorin. And yes, that was without looking it up.