Trivia gets me hot and bothered. I love Sale of the Century and Jeopardy! I have a nice collection of beer glasses won at Pub Trivia at the Oxford Tavern from the uni days. And nothing drives me wilder than a guy whispering in my ear, “Let’s go back to my place for some Trivial Pursuit“.
I’m no intellectual heavyweight, I can’t discuss politics and I haven’t read Important Books, but I do know a shitload of Useless Information. So when my new boss asked if I wanted to go to a Trivia Night for her child’s pre-school on Saturday, I jumped at the chance.
The venue was the local soccer club. There were chicken wings and mini-spring rolls and ham/cheese/tomato sandwiches and a bar. It was going to be a fun night.
Our team consisted of my boss, my sister and I, a South African couple and mid-30s geeky type. The boss abandoned us after Round One, apparently her project management skills were required at the Scoreboard.
We were performing pretty dismally in the early rounds. But there was alcohol so who cared? It was an interesting format: you could actually buy answers. $2 for 5 random answers plucked from a box. Inevitably you’d get 4 of the same answers or a really obvious one, but we noticed people around us starting to take the whole event very seriously, and they were buying up a storm. The team in front of us were winning, so they were particularly serious. They all sported the same Matter of Life and Death killer frowns, the kiddies, the mum and dad, the uncle and aunt, and then the grandmother, Lord of the Team, resplendent in purple polyester and fake pearls. She perched on her chair, head darting back and forth like a magpie, double dipping into the Answer Box. She obviously was Up There with the pre-school staff, if she drew out an answer she already knew, she’s put it back in and draw out another.
My sister and I were mortified. We launched into a bitchy routine of stage whispers:
“HEY! Why don’t we put them back in the box and draw NEW ANSWERS until we get ALL OF THEM!”
“YES! Just like those CHEATING BASTARDS in front of us!”
“HOW DO THEY SLEEP AT NIGHT?”
When the quizmaster read out the answers, the old duck would twirl her pearls, nod smugly and wink at her teammates. “Yep, yep, that’s right, I knew the answer was Rage Against The Machine. I am not a filthy cheat, I am just a particularly knowledgeable old fart.”
We started making a comeback around Round Six. If you scratch away at the brain long enough, the trivial crap spews forth. Caspian Sea largest inland body of water in the world. Patrick White won the 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature. And a four-point question, name all the members of The Corrs (Andrea, Sharon, Caroline and Jim. I wish I didn’t know that).
Everyone knows there’s proper procedure for answering questions at a Quiz Night. If you know who the won the Best Country Artist ARIA in 1998 or what the currency of Bolivia is called, you have to wriggle discreetly in your chair, or make fervent “Mmm mmm mmm!” noises, while waving your hands around. Then you silently write down the answer and shove it to the middle of the table, and raise an eyebrow for approval. If you’re right, the rest of the table nods knowingly, gives the thumbs up, or goes, “Ahhhh!” or “Oh, I knew that, but you just said it first”.
Then you sit around looking smug until the next question is asked. So you do NOT bellow at the top of your lungs in your thick South African accent, “OH I KNOW THE ENSA NOW! ET’S THET CRICKET FELLOW! ET’S DON BREDMAN!”. Rhiannon spent half the night hissing “Shut up! Shut up!” and pelting chicken bones at them.
By the last couple of rounds we were in with a chance. I was hot for the $60 Avon Basket and the Microsoft Encarta prize pack. It was time to get serious.
The question was, “Who was the Governor of New South Wales arrested in the Rum Rebellion“. I was Pencil Nazi by then, and I scrawled down “William Bligh” without even consulting my teammates, most of whom were smashed by that time.
Geek Man seized the answer sheet from me. “Bligh? Bligh? Oh come on! It’s not Bligh!”
“It’s Bligh! Keep your voice down!”
“Bligh was the Mutiny on the Bounty guy!”
“Yeah but he was the Rum Rebellion guy too, I tell you!”
“Oh, so he was in two places at once?”
“One happened before the other, you fuckwit!”
This is when I leapt from my chair and tackled Geek Man to the table. I pinned him down and repeatedly slapped him across the face. “Listen to me buddy, get a hold of yourself! I wasn’t in the champion Western Region History Quiz Team for nothing. I know my crappy colonial history, and I am telling you it’s BLIGH. Got it?”.
Then I wedged a spring roll up his nose, sat down and wrote BLIGH in big bossy letters on the answer sheet.
I meekly surrendered the sheet, muttering “Fine! Fine! You’re the boss!” while he wrote down ‘Macquarie’. Then lorded it over him for the remaining rounds when it turned out I was right.
Despite our Bligh blunder, we romped home in 3rd place, tied with none other than the Cheating Bastards. Our booty included a dodgy bottle of white, a French cookbook, and a voucher for a men’s haircut. My sister got a voucher for a massage (the sporting kind, not the Adult Shop In Fyshwick kind of massage) and I got a $20 petrol voucher. Woohoo!