Thursday, June 23, 2005

In Pursuit of the Trivial

You'd think that the promise of alchohol would be enough. But no, there are all kinds of gimic that bars use to gain patronage. I understand sports bars. Sports require little sobreity to follow, and judging by the manner in which they are cheered in Europe, it appears as though intoxication is the keystone to fandom. I'd venture to guess that soccer and rugby really benefit when viewed through a bit of beer haze.

By the same token I understand singles bars. In fact of all the bar gimics this makes the most sense. Accumulate drunken people interested in the meeting other drunken people--that's just giving the people what they want. Though, it feels just a step more romantic that when I'd watch my sister take her Barbie and Ken doll and smash them together and make kissing noises. Come to think of it, I guess that's sort of the ideal model for most of these bars.

But then there's trivia. Apparently not content to simply lure people with the promise of drunken sex or late inning home runs, some bars offer a chance to compete at trivia. There is something truly wonderous about the idea of drunken men falling from their bar stools to dicker over how many books of the Bible begin with the letter G. Now drinking has never made me more competitive--sleepy sure, but competitive, not so much.

A couple of Monday's ago I went with friends to Fado's pub quiz. Fado is a chain of "authentic Irish pubs" across the country. There was one in Seattle, and I'm sure there's one near you as well. Fado's is sort of like TGI Fridays but for the Irish fetishizing set. Instead of having sleds and alligators on the wall Fado's has artificially antiqued photos of old Irish men tending to sheep along rough hewn walls. I don't think Emmet recognized any of his relations, but, in all fairness, it was relatively dark.

Back to the actual trivia. Teams are asked to name themselves something topical and humorous. For instance "Medical Marijuana Ruled Illegal by *High* Court", "Maybe if she converts to Scientology he'll convert to heterosexuality", etc. Ours was "I've been touched by a smooth criminal". Eh. What we lacked in humour we hoped to make up for in breadth and depth of knowledge. There was Andrew (MIT grad, senate researcher), Janet (researcher for Dean), Emmet (foreign capitals, Irish things), Dan Craig (Harvard, space lasers, everything else) Erica (Emmet's friend, and a teammate on his soccer team with Will Singer) and Me. Erica is studying to become a vet so if we got a whole bunch of questions about horse tranquilizers or how come dogs pace before they sleep...we were set. Turns out those were not the categories. Erica seemed nice and after the quiz oddly enough asked me if I'd write a posting about it. (Someone had mentioned this blog). I'd never had a "request" before. Wasn't sure if she was mocking me or not. Either way, who am I to care. But it was sort of intimidating; it's one thing to assume people might read what I write, it's another all together to think that people want to read it. (though I'm not sure if she reads the blog or just was interested that it existed in the first place).

In general the questions at this quiz were fairly easy. There is something frustrating about a quiz where routinely getting 7 out of 10 puts you in 6th place.
This quiz was much easier than the one in Seattle where I routinely felt like a blithering idiot. Here, I was reminded of some of my success at In The Know. I can't recall if I've posted about ITK, but if not that may warrant a posting later. It's one of the strongest arguments for would be dates and friends to avoid me--for fear of the taint of complete and unrepenting nerd-itude.

Overall we did alright. We beat more teams than beat us. But there is something disappointing about finishing in the top third--you are easily able to count the questions which cost you victory.

There were a few interesting sections of the quiz. There was a match the painter to the name of his paintings (sadly all men). We were pretty good at this. But in these cases when you don't know the quality of logic goes something like this: "Doesn't XYZ seem sorta like something that Raphael would name a painting." One of the titles was The Kiss. Which was supposed to be matched with Munch, but it's really hard to avoid the impulse to put that with Klimt (though Gustav was not a choice). The other nice innovation was another visual identification section. It included things like the NATO flag, J Lo, and other famous things. I would like to say that for a straight male I was right in there with Erica and Janet discussing whether or not some generic looking blonde woman was Kimberly Stewart. I even made a few Nicole Ritchie jokes. So we'll count that as reason two why would-be friends might want to reconsider. That's right, I know about stupid pop culture. And until recently could name a good deal of the cast members to various seasons of the Real World (though I must confess to great ignorance over the names of Road Rulers). We came in search of trivial distractions and after a collective 18 Harps we were no more intelligent, slightly more drunk and no richer. Though I guess we got what we paid for....trivial things.

No comments: