So last night was Keith's and my first pub quiz (although Cathy and Amy are old veterans), and I have to say: I wasn't impressed with myself. I mean, our team did okay. We didn't completely embarrass ourselves, but we didn't exactly set the place on fire and inspire all the other contestants to break into spontaneous cheers of admiration, if you know what I mean.
I mean, let's talk about this whole concept of "trivia." The definition of trivia, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, is "insignificant or inessential matters; trifles." So why, when I don't know trivia, do I feel stupid or less educated than the guy that can identify a picture of Dr. Seuss? (true story, we thought it was C. Everett Koop. Whoops!)
I think that, in our modern era where we never have enough time to do anything properly, trivia geeks are our version of a Renaissance Man. A jack of all trades. If you know random factoids in many different categories, you have proven your mastery over life. You can engage in witty repartee and sparkling dinner conversation. Everyone wants you on their team for any game that might somewhat involve intelligence.
People do ask me to be on their teams, falsely assuming that someone with a Masters in English must surely know something. Usually I end up spouting out random facts that actually have no relation to the question at hand. Like, if the question is what conflict is featured in Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls," I'll talk about John Donne and his religious conversion that completely changed his poetry mid-career. Not helpful.