It’s Friday night, just past the dinner hour. Six of us are huddled around a slightly sticky table, our heads almost touching in concentration — and secrecy. None of the other teams must overhear.
The stakes are high. It’s not just a $15 gift certificate on the line; it’s pride. We’ve felt pride before, the addictive rush of coming in first (or even second), and we want to feel it again.
Here’s our current challenge: “What is the only mammal born with horns?”
About a year ago, I started playing Trivia with friends at restaurants around the north end. It’s a better way to spend an evening than watching TV, and the games end at 9 so I’m still in bed by 10 p.m. (I mean, let’s not go crazy).
Trivia is my brother Bill’s game. He’s the team glue and main question answerer, coming up with 80 percent of the answers, including the most recondite. But the rest of us have the occasional idiot savant moment, which — believe me — makes a person feel like a Mensa.
You never know which life experience may turn up in a Trivia question. For instance: “The hyoid bone does not feature any major points of articulation (joints) with other bones. Where is it located?” Well, I haven’t spent many precious hours watching ID TV for nothing! (ID TV: All Murder, All the Time).
I’m sure the hyoid is the bone in the throat that breaks during strangulation. But is it not attached to any other bone? Discussion ensues. Maybe the hyoid is part of the eardrum? Could it be a floating rib? No. With time running out, we drop our little paper into the answer jar. “Throat,” we have written.
Throat it is! Five points to us! My work here is done. Another cider, please, waitress; it’s time to bask in the glory.
Of course, not every question goes smoothly. “Name the five original members of the Jackson 5.” After much head banging we submitted the partial and frankly fishy list of Michael, Tito, and some guy named Jerome (who turned out to be Jermaine). No points for us.
Occasionally, all teams go scoreless on a question. Recently, a bar patron with a gaping lack of impulse control yelled out the answer to the square root of 121, voiding the question. We were all punished with the replacement question, “What Greek mythological symbol did the now armless statue of Venus de Milo once hold in her left hand?” Say what? Turns out it’s the Golden Apple of Paris (eye roll). Bill answered “the head of the jerk who yelled ‘11.’ ”
If you know all the capitals of the United States, have an affinity for sports stats and the periodic table … or even if (like me) you just enjoy hanging with friends and don’t mind being reminded that you’re not nearly as smart as you think you are, come on out. It’s fun; it’s free. Kingston doesn’t currently have a Trivia venue, but there are several in Poulsbo. Check out the locations and schedule at http://triviatimelive.com.
BTW … the mammal born with horns? The giraffe.
— Wendy Tweten lives, writes, and studies the periodic table at her home in Kingston. Reach her for comment at wendy@wendy tweten.com.