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Monday, September 01, 2003  

Allied Van Morrison

The other night was AuteurCakes’s valedictory pub quiz. Now she’s in Kansas City, moving into her new place and hanging with ChicagoWench. So it was her last time playing the Kieran’s Pub Quiz with us, at least for a while. Hence my use of the term valedictory. Although perhaps the word salutatory might be more accurate, because we came in second. Again.

There are worse things than consistently coming in second at the pub quiz. Things like having to buy wine rather than win it.

Oddly enough, we got second place even though we hadn’t been there in months, and even though two of our regular team members, Dirt and Banana, were absent.

Maybe another factor was the absence of the team that normally wins. That cleared the way for us to come in with a strong second-place finish. Sadly, it also enabled another team to win outright.

As anyone who’s played more than a few pub quizzes knows, the hardest part is preventing yourself from talking yourself out of the right answer. You get questions that you’re pretty sure you know the answer to, not because you actually know it, but because you don’t know what else it could be. Then you start thinking about other possible answers, and everybody starts rattling them off, and we feel all clever because we figure nobody else knows these possible answers and we’ve outsmarted them, and then we turn our answer sheets in and the obvious answer is the correct one, and the only people we outsmarted were ourselves. Which, we’ve suddenly realized, wasn’t as difficult as we had previously thought.

We’re not as prone to doing that as we used to be. We were guilty of that a time or two the other night, but not enough to have made a difference. We lost by seven points out of a possible one hundred twenty or so. If we’re going to lose, I’d just as soon lose by that much or more. It shows that the first-place team is made up of true savants and therefore invincible, and that losing to them is no cause for shame. It also means that we don’t have to think back to the two or three answers we almost got right, but didn’t. I mean, we could, but it’s not exactly a heartbreaker to realize, “Ooh, we came thisclose to losing by five points instead of seven! Drat the luck!”

And again, we scored bottles of wine instead of T-shirts. I have plenty of T-shirts. I don’t need any more. I barely have room for the ones I have. That’s not a problem with wine. You’d be amazed at how many wine bottles can fit into a T-shirt drawer.

It would have been nice to take first place just once, though. Just for the sake of bragging rights. And there’s only one factor that kept us from doing it. That factor’s name is Van Morrison.

The last round of the evening was the music round. Normally we ace this round. Perfect scores for the music round are not unheard of for us. Actually, I should qualify that; when I say “not unheard of,” I’m referring to exchanges like “wouldn’t it be cool if we got a perfect score on the music round tonight?” “Yeah, it would.” But that counts as being heard of, I think.

Anyway, we were only a few points from the lead going into the music round, and we’d broken away from the pack that we’d been sharing second place with. The way it normally works is that our Quizmaster will play a snippet of a song, and then we usually have to identify the title and the artist. Sometimes there’s a unifying theme, like weather or songs about fruit, but it’s generally pretty easy for us. But this last time, the CD for the music round wouldn’t play on the CD player. So the Quizmaster had to improvise. In other words, he had to just stick in whatever CD he had on hand.

Did I mention this is an Irish pub?

Now, I know a few Van Morrison songs. Specifically, the ones that the local classic rock station used to play when I was in my teens. I don’t know all of them. In fact, experience tells me that I know four out of Van Morrison’s Greatest Hits. Stupid bastard.

Hence our loss. I guess I can’t say for sure that we would have won if the proper music round had come off, but we all discovered new depths of enmity for Van Morrison that night, Zen Viking, for instance, adorned his placemat with an illustration of Mr. Morrison that would have triggered a Secret Service investigation had Mr. Morrison been the President of the United States. Meanwhile, the first-place team, who were singing along when the answers were played back, who had probably lent the Quizmaster their copy of the CD, stretched their lead to a commanding seven points. Stupid Van Morrison.

Now AuteurCakes is in Kansas City, living with the bitter memory of her one chance at a Minneapolis Pub Quiz victory snatched from her hands by Van Morrison. I think Van Morrison should have to pay some of her moving expenses.

Today’s best search phrase: “Analogy generator.” Hey, I was only kidding about that. I don’t actually own one. I kind of wish I did, though.

posted by M. Giant 6:24 PM 0 comments


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