I have been a trivia geek for many, many years. It started when my Mom first brought home Trivial Pursuit, the Genus edition. She let us kids play with the adults, like we were adults. Sure, there were teams, and the adults had most of the answers (except when it came to Entertainment, where I was the go-to girlie) but it cultivated many things in my life. I was already an avid reader by the time TP joined our household, but all those tiny little facts made me want to scoop up every book I could and absorb all the minutae about plant classification or Roman/Greek gods or significant events in 1971. I was never afraid of learning, like so many other kids I saw (including my brother). I soon became one of those people who “knows a little bit about a lot of things” and I still sort of carry that around as a weapon. Sure, it’s annoying, but as a small regression in know-it-all-ness, I have actually stopped using the word “actually” to start a sentence. Sometimes. I’ve also learned to stop correcting people. Sometimes.
When I was about 23, I discovered the Pub Quiz and never looked back. I discovered Rock n Roll, Pop Culture, General, and even Simpsons Trivia nights. I have been on several teams, only one winning team, and have learned a lot and met a ton of interesting people in the process. When I moved to Austin I didn’t know a soul, so my first night out venturing alone I went to Pub Quiz and met some of whom would become my best friends and someone I dated for 4 years. My favorite trivia contact, though, is a guy named Ed Toutant. Toutant is a wonderfully strange character, but an all around good guy. He is somewhat famous in the trivia geek world for having been on tons of game shows, but namely Who Wants to Be A Milllionaire.
Ed made the cut for WWTBAM and soon made it on the show. He didn’t win but the $1000 the first go-round, but challenged the answer to the question that was asked. ABC admitted the answers were ambiguous and multiple and invited him back to play again. Ed ended up winning the very first cumulative jackpot worth $1.8 mil. He came back to Austin and kept working for IBM and continued to come to Mother Egan’s Pub Quiz every Monday night. A formidable opponent was he, but also very supportive.
One night, we ran into each other at the Fado All-Adult Spelling Bee. The Bee was suuuuuper hard. We had 30 minutes in the first round to weed out misspellings in a list of 100 or so words. Ed and I both made it to the 2nd round. The next list had 50 or so much harder words and less time to turn it in. And by hard, I mean words I have never even heard of and don’t remember to this day. It was shocking that I had never seen this words! My whole life is words. I won every spelling bee I ever entered. I studied for days beforehand for that Bee. They called out the names for the 3rd round and I was on it, but sadly (and somewhat gratifyingly), Ed was not.
Didn’t matter. Ed stayed for the duration of the Bee, audibly cheering for me with every letter I got right. Clapping and pumping his arms when I stayed another round. I didn’t win the Bee, but I realized that night that smart people and trivia geeks aren’t all always about competition. You can make some great friends and good supporters. Ed is still my friend and I trust I can go to him with anything in the world and he’d be there to help me. All because of Pub Quiz.
Friendly competition aside, I still like some strong, stiff competition to match my cocktails. So, I’m inviting you all out to the Bridge Lounge tomorrow night (9.15.09) for what I think might be the inaugural rounds of their trivia night. Also, I’d like to get a team started soon. Let me know if you’re interested.