Monday, March 31, 2008

The Torment of Trivial Pursuit

by Julia Buckley















Last night my son asked if we could play Trivial Pursuit; this is ironic, since the last three times we played as a family we all ended up in bad moods, and last night was no exception.

My oldest son hates it when he doesn't know the answers; I think he got that from me. Generally, because the questions vary so wildly, I will get some sort of obscure query about the Bataan Death March and will fail to answer. Then my opponent will get a question like this (which is actually a question in one of the versions of Trivial Pursuit): "Which fictional mouse, created by Walt Disney, has become an American Icon?"

This will drive me crazy. I never get the mouse question. Last night, when I landed on "literature," I was thrilled to think I might actually earn a chip. My question, however, was about a comic strip--one I'd never heard of. Is this how we define literature, I wondered? Then I looked back at the box and saw that the brown, in its newest version, stands for "the printed word." I failed the comic book question, and then my nine-year-old got the question about Emily Dickinson, so we were both furious.

And yet in a few weeks, we will all want to play Trivial Pursuit again. Why? I've been thinking about this today, and I can only assume that it's about the mystery. That perfect question is out there, and I will know the answer next time! And so it lures me like the siren of board games, and I falter again and again. I did not know which eastern state has the largest display of collectible spoons. I was not aware that Pete Rose achieved his 4000th hit right before his 42nd birthday.

But I did get one terrific mystery lover's question: "What is the more politically correct title of Agatha Christie's TEN LITTLE INDIANS?" I answered, I was correct, and my family decided I had some value as a player.

So do you know? Or should I try the mouse question? :)

What's the most annoying question you ever got--assuming that you are trivial enough to play trivia games?

(fair disclosure: this was a blog I wrote about a year ago, but we DID play Trivial Pursuit again this week, because it was our spring break.)

10 comments:

Sandra Parshall said...

Julia, you can salvage one triumph from this experience: you have raised a child who, at the age of nine, was able to answer a question about Emily Dickinson. What more could an English teacher/writer want from life? :-)

P.S. I knew the answers to the first two questions you posted and felt quite proud of myself, then promptly hit a wall.

John S said...

I think the title being sought is AND THEN THERE WERE NONE.

The most annoying round of Trivial Pursuit I remember was when I was posed the question "What is the Spanish word for navy?" I sighed and said "Armada. Oh, I don't know." The person posing the question said "You what?" I said "I don't know." The questioner said "Are you SURE?" I said "YES! I DON'T KNOW!"

Of course, the answer was armada.

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