09 Mar 2011

a trivial pursuit

Back in late August, before the semester started its steamroll over my weekly schedule, my boyfriend, myself, and our friend Geoff decided to spend a Sunday night playing pub trivia at a random bar.

We came in second place. We were excited, but I wasn’t surprised. I have a good memory for facts. I read a lot of entertainment news and celebrity gossip. I am, perhaps, genetically inclined to do well at games of trivia – my mother is a notoriously good Trivial Pursuit player.

I’m even a reigning Claude S. Larzelere Trivia Challenge Champion.

I used to watch Jeopardy every day with my dad.

I’m a nerd.

The semester got in the way and I don’t think we made it out to trivia again until just before Christmas, when I was done with school. This time, we decided to stay local and hit up our neighborhood hole-in-the-wall on a Tuesday night.

We were cocky.

We got schooled.

Sometime between then and now, trivia has become a weekly ritual. We adjust our schedules around scouting out our favorite corner table, we set aside cash to procure a few weekly PBRs. Then we started getting to trivia so early we didn’t have time to eat dinner first, so we started packing a weekly picnic dinner. We started inviting all of our friends, subbing team members in and out. We started training, playing Scene It and memorizing Oscar winners and state capitals and adding all of those “Man, I really should have seen this movie already” to our Netflix queue. We brainstorm team names with funny, quiz-related puns.

But despite all of our efforts, we still suck.

We lose every week.

And then we start to get grumpy about our inability to perform as a team, and start fighting with each other.

There are a lot of reasons why I think we suck at trivia.

Reason #1: The bar we first visited was in Kenmore Square – an area more likely to be visited by bar-hopping undergraduates than our little hood in JP. The questions are a lot harder, the competition fierce. We’ve talked about switching bars, go back to being the big fish in a small pond… but dammit, the small pond is two blocks from our apartment!! And we can bring in food!! And we have a corner table!! And it’s two blocks from our apartment!!

Reason #2: We have some noticeable trivia-deficiencies. Anything involving sports, history, or TV/movies beyond our generation? We falter.

Reason #3: There’s a bit of strategy involved in pub trivia – you have to wager different point values for each question – and we continuously miss the mark on our guesses. We bet our high values on answers we are certain are right (they aren’t), or save them up until the end and end up guessing right on our 1 and 3 point questions and then bombing the last two. This boils down to our group’s inability to communicate effectively. Somebody is always muttering the right answer and nobody listens, or somebody is dead certain on something that should have been doubted. We are maybe just not a good team.

It’s starting to wear on me. I, for one, am starting to enjoy having a little Tuesday night routine. I like feeling like I live in a sitcom, and I have a neighborhood joint where I can kick back on a weeknight and play a game while I have a few beers and eat a few slices of homemade pizza with the cheese stuck to the inside of a freezer bag we carried over from the apartment. But as the game rolls on, we are always just on the edge of winning or losing, my friends and I get edgy, and then, we lose. We lose, we lose, we lose. Everyone starts griping and snapping at each other and we are just big fat losers.

So maybe it’s just a losing game, trying to become Trivia Champions Of The World.

Or maybe we just need to go beat up on some little undergrads in Kenmore for awhile.

Posted on March 9, in boston

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