Competing in bar trivia has become one of my new favorite hobbies over the past couple years. I had no idea that bar trivia was even an actual, orgainzed activity, but I quickly got hooked because it serves as the perfect outlet for all of the useless information I’ve mentally acquired over the past 29 years.
There is a group of us that are now Thursday night regulars at a sports bar right down the street from our apartment (it’s purely coincidental that my Wife and I will be moving into a new place across the street from the bar in a couple of weeks. I promise).
The thing I like about the trivia at this bar is that the same teams come out to play every week, so we’ve gotten to know our competition and have developed a little history over the months. But there’s one team that has legitimately become our archrivals. We hate them so much. We hate them the way that you are supposed to hate people that are cruel to animals or the Devil or NBC.
They are the evil empire of our bar trivia.
They are The No Talent A-- Clowns.
(Beyond just hating them for always winning, we hate that they have a great team name, which of course comes from the classic line from Office Space.)
Our team, Suit Up!, has had multiple second and third place finishes and we’re always in the game going into the final round; but we’ve never won it all because The Clown Show (as I’ve started calling them) ALWAYS wins. I’m sure I’m exaggerating. I’m almost positive that Slow Children Playing or The Sandlot have won a couple rounds along the way, but I’m usually comatose by the time the winner is crowned after another failed attempt at taking down the Clown.
I can’t see this past Thursday night getting topped, though. I’m positive that our most recent defeat will go down in bar trivia history as one of the most epic collapses of all time.
The fundamental problem with our team is that we’re just too young. At almost 30 years old, I’m one of the oldest members of the squad so we’re in trouble with any questions about events that happened before 1980.
And apparently a lot of stuff happened before then.
Getting desperate, we decided to bring in a couple of ringers. We have a brother/sister combo on our team (Greg and Laura) and their well-educated parents that have lived all over the globe were in town so we convinced them to come to trivia this past week and help us out. For the first three rounds our planned worked like a charm. Greg and Laura’s folks were answering questions we normally wouldn’t have had a prayer of getting correct. They got a Lichtenstein answer, something about the Sea of Japan, and something else about the Warsaw Pact.
I just sat back and enjoyed the ride as we cruised into the final question in first place. This was new territory for us as we’ve never been in first place at this point before.
The final question was a four-parter about the prestigious acting career of Mr. Ben Affleck and broke down like this: (1) name Ben Affleck’s brother that is also an actor – easy, Casey. (2) What was Ben’s two letter name from Armageddon – super easy, A.J. (3) Which female actress starred with Ben in Forces of Nature – super duper easy, Sandra Bullock. (4) What was Ben Affleck’s first credited film –
There was no way we had come this far just to lose. We had to figure it out. After several moments of racking our brains, I thought we were done for until our team member Heather blurted out Dazed and Confused.
That was it. That was the answer.
I knew in that moment we had won and taken down The Clown Show.
Still, I couldn’t help but pace the floor as all the final answers were collected by Moe, the bar D.J. who runs trivia night. Moe knew the stakes and what was on the line. He even drew out the drama a bit to let the tension run a little higher than usual.
First answer: correct. Second answer: correct. Third answer: correct.
We were almost home.
For the final part, Moe read the question again and then let the silence sit for a few seconds. Then he said the magical words "Dazed". "And". "Confused".
Our table erupted.
I was speechless. We had done it.
I was on the brink of euphoria until the world started moving in slow motion and I saw my buddy Greg trying to calm everyone at the table down. I knew exactly what had happened. In our moment of premature celebration we had forgotten about one of Moe’s favorite things to do.
“Dazed and Confused…” He paused, “Is the wrong answer!”
(The correct answer is School Ties which apparently lauched Brendan Fraser's career. No wonder I've blocked it out of my memory.)
Not only had we lost, we now looked like fools in the process. I stood paralyzed as the final results flashed up on the big screen at the bar.
Second Place: Suit Up!
First Place (once again and forever more): The No Talent A-- Clowns.
That was our best chance. We threw our best punch and still came up short. We probably should just give up and accept that fate has destined us to perpetually finish behind The Clown Show.
Until we try again this week.
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