For the past few months, I have been logging in the hours in random bars because I have become obsessed with Seattle trivia nights.
I cracked open the door to this obsession a few months back, when I dropped into a local pub in my neighborhood called Murphy’s. It’s a quaint Irish pub that has a nice, warm, welcoming vibe to it. I went with some friends and some coworkers and we had a nice time. And I didn’t think too much about it after that.
But the seed had been planted. Fast forward a few months, and it had time to blossom into a great idea in my brain. An idea in which I would be able to assemble the perfect team of six (the maximum number of people allowed before you are disqualified as a team) to annihilate all trivia nights to come. A plethora of coworkers and I started testing out various trivia nights throughout the city in an effort to break up the work week.
I quickly discovered that I was becoming picky about trivia nights. I didn’t want to pay a fee to enter the competition, only free trivia seemed acceptable to me (after all, I’m not that confident in my skill level). Also it had to fall within a certain distance from my apartment. Seeing as they always seem to fall on a weekday, I need to be able to get home at a decent hour so that I can be rested up for work the next day.
The host was another determining factor: must be funny without being snarky or rude, has to go quickly enough to keep my attention, but not so fast that I can’t keep track of what question we are on. There is now a strict set of criteria for these trivia nights. And as we venture more deeply into these adventures, I’ve realized that somewhere along the line, I’ve become obsessed.
I started analyzing what everyone brings to the team. I certainly don’t like excluding people from the team, but there are only enough spots for six people, and those six brains need to vary in knowledge specialties. Also, not everyone is available all of the time, so technically I needed an alternate for every branch of knowledge. This was a great plan in theory, but there’s a challenge in simply organizing six people who are all available on a random weekday altogether.
I, like an obsessed psychopath, even started grilling people at work who want to join in on the fun on what they contribute. “What is your specialty? What questions would you be the best at answering? We need a sports person, would you be able to help us in that category?” I even had a guy tell me his Jeopardy scores to prove his worthiness of making the cut for the top six.
This theory also falls apart when I realize exactly how much I contribute to the game. I have found that I fall more into the category of hype girl/answer recorder/team organizer more than I am contributing to the actual trivia itself. Occasionally there is a category like “Famous Juniors” that I can clean sweep (Robert Downey Jr, Larry Mullin Jr, Sammy Davis Jr) without any sort of explanation. Or I can identify the Kidz Bop song in the music round as kids making an attempt to sing a clean cover of Kei$ha’s “Tick Tock.” But the more I’ve gone, I realize that I might not be the strongest player on the team, but I contribute the organizational factor, so that has to count for enough to prevent me from getting the boot.
After partaking in several trivia nights, it is also worth noting that we have never broken the top three, which is the longstanding goal. In fact, the night we came in fourth place, we were one person short of our six, and picked up a rando playing trivia at the bar alone to complete our team.
It turns out that was the best decision we could have made. He swept the “Famous Explorers” category and the history questions while we took care of pop culture, the music round, and other worthless tidbits of knowledge that I’m sure he was too smart to give a shit about (like when I corrected his answer for the meaning of the acronym LAMB for Gwen Stefani’s first solo album). I sat there, proud of myself for knowing something that this guy didn’t, but then realized that I excel at worthless knowledge, whereas he seemed to excel at knowledge that is actually useful in life.
The obsession took a new turn in the past week when I realized that I could apply to be a quizmaster, the person who actually gives out the questions for the night. I decided I now had a new career path and drove everyone at work to roll their eyes at me when I discussed this plan ad nauseum. It didn’t take long to crush that dream once I thought about how it really couldn’t lead anywhere too productive in my life. Also, who would be able to take me seriously when I handed out “Carly Lauck, Quizmaster” business cards?
I will probably just have to settle as the team organizer until everyone realizes that I actually don’t contribute enough to pull my weight and I get kicked off of my own team. But until that day comes, I will continue to hunt down various trivia nights until I find the perfect fit for my quiz crew and our ragtag knowledge.