Trivia Night Training

Last October, Jenny and I did something we do about once a quarter: went out on a Saturday night.

It’s not that we absolutely despise people. Only I do.

While at the library one day, we saw a posting about a trivia night they were having in the coming weeks. Intrigued by the chance to show off our smarts, win a prize, and maybe crush the dreams of others, we deliberated if this was something we wanted to do. We’re both fans of watching Jeopardy! so we decided to skip the funeral we previously planned to attend and embarked on a Saturday night trip to the local library to partake in some trivia.

Sorry for not making it, Aunt Madea. (Photo Courtesy of

I’ve never done a trivia night. In preparation, we watched a whole lot of Jeopardy! Don’t forget to include the exclamation point. It’s like the movie Airplane! or National Lampoon’s: Schindler’s List! You need to add the exclamation so everyone knows it’s satire!

Something you should know about us: we’re competitive. This includes with each other. While we enjoy being on each other’s team, we also won’t hesitate to crush the other.

The only thing Jenny and I like more than defeating each other is obliterating complete strangers. We were determined. All afternoon, we watched Jeopardy! tournaments from the past. I even went on the exercise bike and answered questions hoping the vigorous exercise would prepare me to answer questions even better while at rest.

We got to the library and were greeted by a man who must have been at least 180-years-old. He asked if we were there for the trivia night. Because the library was closed, they needed this ancient man guarding the entrance. As I’m sure you know, the library is often filled with people trying to break in at 6pm on a weekend.

We took our seats and sized up the competition. There were a few young people and a lot of old people. Young people are beatable, but old people are tougher. They lived through history. The biggest event of my lifetime was the first time someone did the floss dance. I was screwed.

The style of the game wasn’t as I expected. We wouldn’t all answer at once. Rather, we’d write down our answers and have it tallied at the end of each round.

Jenny and I did well in the first round. It was a good mix of questions which got progressively more difficult. By round two, I knew my training wasn’t going to pay off.

Trivia nights should be about bullshit questions where half the answers are Weird Al Yankovic song titles. You should be able to sweep a trivia night if you grew up watching television and staying indoors all summer long. These two hosts, a pair of teachers, went in a different direction. Their questions were academic. This was proven when there were ten questions about gemstones.

Who goes to a trivia night to answer questions about gemstones? Seriously, boys. I’m a man in my 30s who has never mined in South Africa. I don’t know a thing about gemstones.

Amazingly, Jenny handled the category quite well. I’m not sure how she knew anything about gemstones. It would be like me having any awareness of social norms.

This is the only social Norm I know of. (Photo Courtesy of the Nostalgia Blog)

The only category we completely sucked at was about food and drinks. By this point, we were both pretty hungry and thirsty anyway. This was the final topic of the evening and after three hours of getting our asses kicked in trivia, our minds were fried.

We didn’t get a single question right of those final ten. In the end, we also failed to finish in the top three of seven teams. I think we were fourth, however, based on scores from the previous round.

Fortunately, the night ended as awkwardly as possible. The two guys running the trivia night turned to the librarian and said, “What prizes do we have for them?”

To which she responded, “I thought you were getting the prizes…”

They weren’t joking either. It was insanely uncomfortable. The winning teams passed it off as if they were cool with the situation. Maybe they were okay with the glory of winning. I wouldn’t have been. Every winner needs a trophy and when you can’t have the losers’ heads on a pike, a cheap gift card to some place you never shop at is the next best thing.

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