Thursday, November 16, 2006

Strip Croquet, Of Course!

We Won!

Peter’s 19th Hole had better fire up their microwave, because they owe me some appetizers! That’s right, after five weeks straight of finishing in second place at Trivia Night, I finally had the satisfaction of being on the winning team.

It was a triumphant but also humbling evening. The team configuration is never the same and last night I found myself teamed up with B, L (who is a passing acquaintance), and her newish “friend,” a young man, J, who wore his baseball cap backwards. One of my least endearing traits is that I tend to make snap judgments about people, based on their appearance. My heart sank a little when I saw J. What could he possibly know? Struggling to be affable and a little patronizingly, I blurted, “Are you good at sports questions?” “Oh, yes,” he assured me, “And science and history, too!” “Yeah, right,” I thought, smirking to myself.

He went on to talk about how addicted he was to MySpace. Jaysus Gawd. We’re friggin’ doomed. I smiled wanly and tried to change the subject.

I’d like to think that I, Rozanne, a person who spent 11 years working at Encyclopaedia Britannica, am pretty good at trivia—that all those years of exposure to massive doses of arcane facts would have turned me into some kind of trivia Olympian. But nope. If anything, it trained me to retain as little information as possible. There’s only so much room in this brain of mine. I think for every new fact that comes my way two facts that had been knocking about for a while get tossed out. The truth of the matter is: I am no better than average at trivia. And I’m absolute rubbish when it comes to questions about sports, hip-hop music, celebrity gossip, and movies. I just look helplessly at my teammates when those questions come up.

Well, of course, you can see where this is going. Mr. Backwards Baseball Cap proved himself immediately by supplying the answer to a question about the NFL. He later pulled our collective ass out of the fire on at least one science and one history question. I was forced to radically revise my initial assessment of him as well as my inflated opinion about my own trivia knowledge, which seems to be getting worse and worse. It’s so sad when a question comes up that I should know the answer to, in fact, used to know the answer to. But now? Can’t dredge it up, at least not within the time limit.

My faculties are decaying—no doubt about it—but I did help score a modest number of points for our team (e.g., Q: What word is the name of a flower, a part of the human body, and a poet/novelist who suffered from Alzheimer’s? A: Iris. Got that one right away, but, yeah, it’s not terribly tough). B saved our bacon with his impressive store of facts about films and old-timey music, and L demonstrated a superior knowledge of booze and poetry.

One of the coolest things about the trivia contest is that it truly is a team effort. It’s fun, and often surprising, to find out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s also a nice ego boost when a question rolls around that absolutely stumps your team members and you can calmly quell the panic. “How do you know that?” they’ll exclaim in wonderment and admiration. Speaking as someone who was a miserable failure at team sports in school, the adoration of one’s team members is a foreign but welcome feeling.

Anyway. We came to the final round and everyone toted up their scores. The trivia maven announced that something unprecedented had happened. There was a three-way tie for first place, and our team was one of the three. No worries. The trivia maven had some lightning round questions on the ready. The first round did one of the teams in, but we were still tied for first with another team. But that team floundered when asked which strip sport was being played by the characters in Heathers. Why strip croquet, of course! Doesn't everyone know that? But they didn’t! And we did! And we won—and made far more fuss than necessary over our prize—a voucher for two free (and probably fairly mediocre) appetizers.

Today’s Random NaBloPoMo blog: Jam Jar


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