Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Trivia

By Marla Boone - Contributing columnist

Everyone who can remember a time when the word “tablet” meant “pill” will also remember a game called Trivial Pursuit.

Trivial Pursuit is a board game equipped with dice, tokens, and approximately two million cards printed with questions ranging from the played-out mundane to the painfully obscure. Questions are in the fields of geography, entertainment, history, arts and literature, science and nature, and sports and leisure. A player won the game by landing on spaces marked with one of the six categories and then correctly answering a question — a trivia question — in that discipline. Once all areas were successfully negotiated, one had only to return to the center of the board to claim victory.

Eventually the game’s manufacturer began to issue special editions such as “All Sports.” Guess who won that at our house. Years later I think they marketed an updated version to compensate for recent history as well as lagging sales.

Lately, a local business has been hosting a trivia night. The premise is, they sell you beer and then turn you over to Dan the Trivia Man (I am not making this up) who roams the room with his portable microphone, asks the questions, distributes paper and pencils, and grades the answers.

One of our friends has fallen into the role of social director. We are extremely grateful for this because left to our own devices, we would sit at home at stare at our iPads for weeks at a time. Our social director’s husband is a very smart guy and one of the things he is very smart about is trivia. Did we want to be on their trivia team? You bet we did.

The first week we played, we did great. We won three of the six rounds, we won total points, and, best of all, we won the beer trivia challenge. The prizes, unfortunately, did not include beer but they did include a nifty lighted beer sign which is the next best thing. We failed miserably, however, on the bonus points which dealt with movies and songs.

The second week, we also did pretty well. We won two of the six rounds and, again, the beer trivia challenge. But we still had those two weak spots. We were supposed to be able to name a movie based on a quote from the script. (I haven’t seen a movie since “Life of Pi.”) We were also expected to listen to a snippet of song and then name both the song and the artist. (I haven’t downloaded a song in three years.) Luckily one of the bonus points was in the category of “Dead or Alive.” Dan would name a celebrity or pseudo-celebrity or some person about four people in the room had ever heard of. The teams’ task was to decide if that person was dead or alive. I know, I know, sometimes with celebrities it’s hard to tell but Dan is a tough taskmaster. No partial credit.

The third week the joint was packed to the gills. Obviously the word had gotten out that beer and prizes were available at this fine establishment. Beer and prizes are an almost irresistible draw. There were about four times as many teams as before and some of the teams had nine or ten players. Many of these new players looked to be about 22-years-old and all of them appeared to be professional music listener-toers. Dan the Trivia Man was very clear about no one being allowed to use their phone during the game and the dire consequences of cheating (intense embarrassment followed immediately by expulsion). But it didn’t matter to these kids. They had quite clearly committed to memory every song performed this century. They would even sing along to the snippet Dan played. We were sunk.

It was bad enough we could not identify a song by Iggy Popp or Poppy Ig or anything remotely resembling rap music. We thought we could still make up some points on the beer trivia. We were death on beer trivia. Except … when it came time for beer trivia there wasn’t any. The whole hops-infested, pilsner-intense, brewery-oriented category had been dropped.

The only thing we could think of to do was to bring in our own ringer. The social director and her husband have a 30-year-old daughter. What would it take, we wondered, to arrange a visit that fell somewhere in the vicinity of trivia night? Not much, as it turns out. This woman knew her movies. She knew her songs. She knew her artists. She even knew Tina Louise was still alive.

We were back on top. Somewhere, someone should have been playing “We Are The Champions.” The group performing this song is Queen, just in case you are ever asked.

By Marla Boone

Contributing columnist

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.