Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Friday, April 25, 2003 Briefest of Champions
I think I’ve discovered the secret to creating a winning Pub-Quiz team: draft someone’s mom or dad.
I’m not just saying that because parents know everything. Most people have been at least partly disabused of the notion of their progenitors’ omniscience by the time they’re old enough to be let into a bar. But parents are handy to have on your team when, say, a history round comes up, because they were around for more of it.
Our standard Pub-Quiz team roster is myself, Trash, Dirt, Banana, and Shitpixie. But the Quiz conflicted with Dirt’s pool league on Wednesday night, so Banana roped her mom into filling Dirt’s seat.
That sounds a lot naughtier than I meant it to.
Banana’s mom demonstrated her usefulness early on with a question about Korean history. Now, we’re just a bunch of ignorant Gen-Xers who don’t know anything about the Korean War aside from what we learned from reruns of M*A*S*H. But since Banana’s mom was not only there, but also in possession of the correct answer, we were in first place at the end of the second round. And the end of the third round, with a commanding lead of three points.
By this time, we were discussing whether we wanted to hold on to first place or deliberately slide to second to get the better prize. You might think that such a debate might constitute a jinx. You would be correct.
Here’s the thing about the picture round: there’s absolutely no way to practice or study for it. The Quizmaster gets these photos out of magazines or newspapers or celebrity yearbook sites or whatever, scans them into his computer, and distorts them beyond all recognition. Those photos—actually, now that I think of it, some of them are caricatures, which makes it even harder—are arranged in ten postage-stamp-sized, poorly photocopied pictures on a single sheet of computer paper. Then we have to un-distort them in our heads and identify the mentally un-distorted image we’ve just envisaged. It’s ridiculously hard. For instance, he distorted a shot of Celine Dion to make her look like Joan Rivers (which, admittedly, couldn’t have been that hard), then distorted that so we’d all say, “oh, that’s a distorted picture of Joan Rivers.” Bastard. We always blow the picture round. It is ever our undoing. We got three out of ten the other night. Most of the teams didn’t do much better, but unfortunately the teams who did were also the teams that were right behind us. The debate was no longer whether we would choose first or second place, but whether we were going to be able to claw our way back up to third.
As it happens, we did, thanks to a perfect score in the “real names of famous people” round (Quick, who is Declan McManus? Reginald Dwight? Calvin Broadus? Eithne Ni Bhraonain?). But with only the music round left, we still weren’t able to catch up to two of the teams that had passed us. We would have gotten second place if any of us had been able to identify the Prodigy song “Smack My Bitch Up” from the six seconds we heard of it. I have to say, Banana’s mom let us down on that score. Parents are supposed to know from “Smack My Bitch Up,” aren’t they? How else do they sing their babies to sleep?
In the end, the team that won was the team that’s won four of the five previous quizzes—including the ones where we took second. The group of savants known as Scotland Forever took home yet another batch of ugly little trophies that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole if you paid me. The Heavy Gang, whom we had briefly deposed from their perennial second-place perch, reclaimed their position and were rewarded with skanky bottles of some nasty-ass mead that’s probably swarming with SARS. As we grudgingly applauded their paltry achievements, we noticed something about them that we never had before.
Their members comprised a wide range of ages.
Dirt’s pool night is going to be on Wednesdays pretty permanently, as it turns out. As will Banana’s mom’s Pub Quiz night.
* * *
This week also represents the end of an era for the Kieran’s Pub Quiz. Our friend Bitter, who has been the Quiz’s hostess and scorekeeper for the two-and-a-half years since its inception, is leaving Kieran’s to go to another job. The Kieran’s crowd will miss her. We won’t, though, because we still get to hang with her.
And don’t get any ideas about favoritism on her part being behind our past successes. Need I tell you about the time that a team consisting of myself, Bitter’s then-boyfriend, and some random moron who wandered in from the front room came in second-to-last? No, I didn’t think so.
posted by M. Giant 3:44 PM 0 comments