Trivia Schmivia

I’ve always known I don’t have all the answers, and that’s exactly why I cower in fear whenever somebody suggests attending a Trivia Night. 

I mean, I don’t really care that the largest three-digit prime number is 997. I would’ve been happy to spend the rest of my life in darkness. 

Every time a friend invites me to a Trivia Night, I die a little inside. The only time I can sign up without the slightest hesitation is if I know ahead of time that a real trivia buff will be at our table. At least then I know I’ll have a fighting chance. Then I can sit there and say, “Yeah, what he said,” while I go for more chips and salsa.

Who else would clue us in on the author of “A Brief History of Time”? I don’t know, okay? It sounds boring. It says a “brief” history, but I don’t believe it. There are thousands of years to account for already, so I’m not so sure Stephen Hawking can accomplish it before I put his book down to watch Stranger Things.

I went to a Trivia Night for a friend’s fund raising benefit, and I actually participated because we had one of those people who knows everything leading our team. The only category where they showed any weakness was Disney, and then I actually carried our team for a minute. No one knows Disney like I know Disney! 

Even our team captain didn’t realize that “Adorna” was not actually one of King Triton’s daughters in the Little Mermaid. He’s going to have to work hard to be back on that pedestal before our next Trivia Night, let me tell you. 

That night, I got to experience what it must be like to know everything. For those two minutes we spent in the Disney category, I put many learned men to shame. That is, until some wiseguy bounced us back to the politics category. It was at that point I went back for more chips and salsa.

How was I to know Iceland has the oldest parliament in the world? Everyone else had moved on to the next category, and I was still trying to remember what exactly a “parliament” was. 

Once I went with an especially rowdy group of trivia-goers (do not laugh, they are out there), and I actually had fun. Real, honest-to-goodness, belly-laughing kind of fun. Our team was winning – no thanks to me – and we were going neck-to-neck with a team that called themselves “Drunk Moms” or something along those lines. We had a die-hard trivia buff on our team that would forever turn in all his newspaper crossword puzzles if he ever lost to a team called “Drunk Moms.” Then the announcer pulled out a question that left us whispering among ourselves furiously and finally pulling an answer out of our . . . well, out of thin air.

Apparently, we should have freshened up on our Chinese before we arrived. None of us had a clue as to which number is considered unlucky in China because it sounds like the word for “death.” I wanted to go with our table number – eleven – just because it seemed like an omen for the way our scores were about to be going, but the rest of my team felt we should go with the number of exes one of us had. Over a basket of chips and salsa, it did seem to make perfect sense. Unfortunately, they were one ex-wife short of the jackpot because the answer was four. 

When it comes to trivia, you either know it or you don’t. There is no faking it. You either come up with the right answer, agree with someone else who came up with the right answer, or give a completely wrong answer and end up sounding like a moron. 

I really believed the most abundant element in Earth’s atmosphere would be oxygen. How else are we still breathing? Wrong! It is nitrogen. Who knew? 

And of course I thought it was a trick question when they asked which sea on Earth had no coastline. Ha! The announcer goofed, free round of chips and salsa for all! Wait . . . what? Oh, the Sargasso Sea, you said? That’s really a thing? Oh, I see. Apparently we should have brushed up on our Chinese AND our oceanography before signing up for this evening of revelry.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy a good basket of chips and salsa?

However, trivia nights seem here to stay, at least for a while. Like those bumper stickers saying your kid is an honor student, or the ones that say my pit bull ate your honor student, or the Bernie sign in your daughter’s dorm window, or Trump’s iconic orange hair, I think we’ll be seeing trivia nights for many years to come. 


So maybe the question to ask before my next trivia night is not whether or not I will know all the answers, but whether or not I will let myself have fun in the process . . . of finding out.

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