Saturday night was the annual Trivia Night at the Jewish Community Center. It’s a fundraiser with a vast variety of items in a Silent Auction, a few in a live auction (some of which are recycled silent auction prizes that didn’t get a bid), a buffet supper and a no-host bar.
In case you’ve never been to a Trivia Night a few trivial words of explanation. It’s sort of a tournament made up of multiple teams, in the case of our Table 19, three players short. By definition, trivial means of little worth or importance.
For instance the first ten questions related to John Wayne. What was his real name? For what movie did he win his only Academy Award? For what college team did he play football, etc. etc. The questions were read aloud, one at a time, then the table had 30-seconds to send its written answers up to the MC. Like a 50 yard dash with obstacles.
Participants are allowed and encouraged to brainstorm with teammates to select one answer. The team that answers the most questions is the winner.
Practicing for Trivia Night is virtually impossible. But because of Smart Phones and invisible computers, it has opened a whole new level of cheating. And there were pre-game announcements warning participants to stow their phones and several reports of competetors that were not playing by the rules. Some folks really take their trivia seriously.
I must admit I did some practice, picking as my subject, Travia (close enough to trivia) with a ta at the end and prefixed with La.
Who wrote La Traviata? I asked myself. Verde, I discovered. How many acts were there? 3. Who wrote the novel? Alexandre Dumas. What year? 1852. What does La Traviata mean? The Fallen Woman (or The Woman Who Strayed). Jill Kelley? Paula Broadwell? Amelia Earhart?
I was all set. I seated myself at our big, round Table 19, cracked my knuckles and waited to impress my table-mates. And then came the John Wayne questions. Did you know his name was really Marion Morrison or that the movie that made him famous was Stagecoach (circa 1939)? I didn't.
I waited in vain for the Traviata trivia questions. Table 19 didn't win ... we ended up some where in the middle of the pack of about 24 tables. I did learn such non-useful things as Doc Holliday was a dentist, and that the Munsters lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
My psychiatrist, Dr. Fraud, says I can’t relate to Trivia because my mind is filled with big, consequential, eventful, important, major, material, meaningful, momentous, significant, substantial, un-frivolous, weighty information. Like his fee.