The Trivia King Is Dead (Only, You Wouldn't Know That Since You Don't Watch That Show...)

There's no reason to put this mildly, because everyone assumes it's true: I am considered to be a trivia master. I'm not... in fact, I am far from it. But I do enjoy a good trivia quiz here and there. I do like a good game of Trivial Pursuit, and own several editions of the game. My father calls me all the time with random sports or movie questions, as does my mother... and my friends. I watch Jeopardy on a semi-regular-to-regular basis, and while I keep relatively quiet during the show if Jen is with me -- where we only answer out loud if it is an actually tough question where we are taking a stab at it (if it is so obviously easy, we tend to keep quiet in mute agreement as to its wimpiness) -- if I am watching it alone, I question every answer out loud, brassy as hell (and often wrong, but I try my ass off.) Finally, my boss puts his money on me anytime we have a company contest, and this was even before he really knew me at all.

Here's the catch: I have never made any claims to being a trivia master. I don't brag about it. I just know a lot of random shit, and sometimes it works out for me. I am bollocks on important subjects though. I know a smattering of science, economic and geopolitical answers, but not enough to get by if hit with a run of higher level questions. There is a reason I have and never will try out for Jeopardy, aside from massive shyness. But, I will admit that on a basic level, I am generally pretty sharp on pop cultural matters. Movies, sports and general knowledge are areas in which I do pretty well, but this is given that most trivia tests are aimed at the G.P., and are thus written down to a certain level to play fair to everyone. Which is where a monster like myself comes in, shows off and ruins it for everyone. And also where I get this "trivia master" appellation. It's far from true, but I seem to have had this placed on me anyway.

Once, a friend of mine showed up at a party, and he introduced me to his friend as "a guy who loves horror movies." This is not necessarily true. I like the genre, but I only love certain movies. You know, the good ones. I also love some of the bad ones, because they are truly bad, but as with anything, you use that whole wheat:chaff ratio to come out with a dandy Wheat Thin.

But, now I have been introduced as a guy who loves every damn horror movie that hovers into view, and I get barraged by my buddy's pal with a host of questions about the Friday the 13th series. His first hit, "How many people does Jason Voorhees kill in the first movie" is easy enough, but answering it opens the floodgates. My answers were as follows to his next five questions: "Uh, I haven't seen that one for a decade," "Who?," "Uh...," "Uh...," and "Fourteen." ("Fourteen" was wrong, by the way, as were the other answers.) I had met up with a guy who lived and breathed this particular series of films, thought it was the greatest film series ever created, probably had a two-foot tall Jason figure on his nightstand, sharpened knives for a living, and hadn't seen a movie filmed before 1980. Despite immediately understanding all of this about the nebbish, I still felt a fool. My friend? He seemed disappointed in my stuttering and evasion, and I am fairly certain he now feels I know nothing about movies. Because of Jason Voorhees.

Another example. Again, introduced at a party (a banquet actually, where I am sort of still on the clock and am only having dinner because I am being forced to do so) as a movie nut and as someone whose favorite film of all time is the original King Kong, I am then harassed to no end by my co-worker's husband. A very nice guy, but still... it's a set-up. He asks me a variety of Kong questions, and this would be great, except that I am absolutely no fun in these situations. Do you like to be cornered when your mind is clearly on something else? Mine happened to be on work at that moment, in a high-pressure situation. Much as I love Kong -- and I was able to answer a couple of items, and they were obscure, I might add -- I hate being cornered on these things. Eventually, I started to slowly drift into the other conversation at the table just to escape.

For the last time, people, I make no claims. I know some shit, every now and then I am able to show it off, but my mind doesn't work that way. I am not there to be asked things out of the blue. But I do know quite a lot about a great many things, and my mind makes connections, and then the trivia flies out of me. If a favorite, often obscure song comes on the radio, you will likely be deluged with the history of the band that plays it. Or if a supporting actor shows up, and you say, "What else is that guy in?," there is a good chance I can help you. I tend to recognize about twice the number of names in any given movie cast than the average person can, and I have this thing about the dates of movies, probably from reading the Maltin guide so often over a 25-year period.

Outside of my areas of interest, I keep one ear and one eye attuned to the television at any given time, and I not only pick up current event names and trivia this way, but also tend to pick up things like the names of the bitchy girls on The Hills without ever having seen the show for more than thirty seconds. The same goes for American Idol contestants or those people who apparently dance with stars. I don't really know any of this stuff. I just sort of suck it up like the least finicky vacuum in the universe. I don't even really want to know any of this stuff. But -- TTTTHHHHHEEEWWWWWSSSSHHHH!!! -- there it is. Whoops...

So, what's with all of my bitching? I will tell you on Wednesday...

Comments

Mark Otis said…
Keep talkin', smarty pants...

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