Look, sometimes, you know the answer and sometimes you just plum don’t.
The first correct answer, delivered at 9PM on a school night is “Oh, hell yes,” in answer to the question, “Are we really about to start playing Trivial Pursuit?” Maybe you’re a little tired and maybe you’ve been at the packed mall in the pouring rain and maybe you’re feeling a little down and maybe you should just go to bed. OR maybe you should have some wine and play Trivial Pursuit with Pam. People? You will not be sorry.
I am normally hopeless at that game, not because I’m a giant moron with no smarts at all (shut up. I am NOT a giant moron with no smarts at all), but rather because I feel so competitive in so many aspects of my life that when it comes to the low stakes world of board games, I often can’t muster up the urge to think that hard. Also, when you grow up with a family myth entitled “My Parents Got Divorced Because Of A Scrabble Game” swirling around you, it makes your need to devalue the seriousness of board games all the more intense.
But we were amazing. Maybe it’s because we were playing the version that has actual, relevant questions from the last twenty years, rather than the Genus I version in which all of the questions start with “What Canadian province” and all of the answers are, mysteriously, “Hitler.” Pam took an early lead three pies to one, but in no time we were both on fire. Larry McMurtry! Minnesota Twins! Mongolia! In less than ninety minutes I had pulled even and we were tied six to six, barreling toward the center.
Jealous that you aren’t in our rarefied league of playing Trivial Pursuit the Stephen Hawking way? I’m not done. Remember the times when we didn’t know the answer? We’re trying to forget them ourselves:
Dan: All right. Here we go: “What did it take a space crew eleven days to fix in a 1993 mission?”
Pam: Yes. Okay. Is it…a flat tire?
Dan: Um, a space crew.
Dan: As in, one flying in space.
Dan: Fixing a flat tire?
Dan: The answer is the Hubble Space Telescope.
Dan: Not “a flat tire.”
Pam: I’m going to tell you why I thought that it was a flat tire.
Dan: Yes. Do.
Pam: Okay. So let’s say that the space shuttle is flying around, and then it’s going to land. And anything that needs to be fixed can be fixed once it’s back on the ground, right?
Dan: I expect this is so.
Pam: Except, of course, if there’s something wrong with the landing gear that would prevent the shuttle from getting back on the ground to begin with.
Dan: Like a flat tire.
Pam: So the space crew has to go up and deal with it, fix the flat tire, return the landing gear to its former glory, and allow for the shuttle to land. Then they can do all the rest of the maintenance. See?
Dan: That makes total sense.
Pam: Doesn’t it?
Dan: Except I have a few follow up questions.
Dan: First of all, how does the tire get up there?
Pam: They tie it around with rope, maybe, and attach it to the repair ship.
Dan: Uh-huh. And then they fly it up, into…is this shuttle of yours in orbit at this point?
Pam: I think it’s trying to land.
Dan: So the landing gear is down, and this second ship —
Pam: — the one with the tire —
Dan — the one with the tire — flies up and finds the space shuttle, which is moving now nearly at the speed of sound — and changes the tire in midair.
Dan: For eleven days.
Pam: Uh-huh. Can you pass the wine?
Dan: Does it bring one of those metal things that raises the tire up? A tire jack?
Dan: And where do they hook it to raise the tire up?
Pam: Maybe they tuck it underneath a nearby planet?
Dan: And they bring a pressure gauge too?
Pam: Yes. But, oh wait…
Pam: What do they do with the flat? Do they tie it to the second ship and bring it back to earth, or do they shoot it off into space?
Dan: And that’s the only break in logic that makes you think your answer might be wrong?
Dan: The answer is The Hubble Space Telescope.
And, scene. I neglected to mention that, during this exchange, I was lying on the living room floor, laughing so hard I was literally unable to move. I thought Cal was about to draw a chalk outline around me and pronounce me dead by reason of intergalactic hilarity.
The later it got, the worse it got. And Pam was waiting to get me back.
Pam: Okay: “In…” Oh, easy.
Dan: Whenever someone says that, I always get it wrong.
Pam: Well…”In 1991, who coined the phrase, ‘At ease, as I mob with the dogg pound, feel the breeze.’”
[Now picture, as this is being read, that you have no idea how certain words in this question — say, for example, words like “dogg” — are being spelled.]
Dan: I have absolutely no idea.
Pam: Yes, you do.
Dan: No, I really don’t.
Pam: Just take a guess.
Dan: I don’t even have a guess.
Pam: You do. YOU DO.
Dan: I do not.
Pam: “At ease, as I mob with the dogg pound, feel the breeze.”
Dan: I don’t know.
Pam: Just guess.
Dan: MY PARENTS GOT DIVORCED BECAUSE OF SCRABBLE.
Pam: All right.
Dan: Okay, fine. I’ll guess. You want a guess? Fine. Here’s my guess: Marlon Brando.
Pam: [stunned silence].
Dan: You mean that’s not right?
Pam: That most certainly is not right.
Dan: Well, I’ll be.
Pam: It’s Snoop Dogg.
Dan: Oh, because of the…
Dan: Not Marlon Brando?
Pam: Not Marlon Brando.
Dan: Because The Godfather never said the words, “At ease, as I mob with the dogg pound, feel the breeze.”
Pam: Not to my knowledge, he did not.
Dan: And I guess 1991 wouldn’t have been a year that found Brando walking around, doing a lot phrase coining.
Pam: Not unless the catchphrase of the year was, “My, but isn’t this a delicious cruller.”
Dan: Damn. I was so close.
Pam: You most certainly were not.
And, scene. Moving on. Sometimes the wrong answers are better than the real answers:
Dan: Under what name do Jim Jeffords, Larry Craig, John Ashcroft, and Trent Lott perform?
Pam: The Whips?
Pam: Majority Rulez?
Pam: Patriot Act!
Dan: The correct answer is “The Singing Senators.”
Pam: Mine were so much better!
Dan: They were. They were, as well, wronger.
And, scene. And sometimes the right answers aren’t nearly as right as the wrong answers. Or something.
Pam: In what state does the longest uninterrupted ant bed call its home, at 16,000 miles?
Pam: How did…no, wait.
Dan: That’s it. It’s California.
Pam: The card says it’s “Boy George.”
Dan: Blue, Pam. Not Pink.
Pam: Oh, shit, right.
Dan: The answer is not “Boy George.”
Pam: Could you imagine?
Dan: I cannot.
Pam: Rosie? Listen, it’s Boy George here. Sorry to do this, but I’m gonna have to cancel the tour of Taboo. These ants. They’re just everywhere. All over me.
Dan: Oh, man. That is funny.
Pam: Rosie? I know, I’m breaking contract and everything and I really like the show and all that. But these ants, Rosie. I’m their home now. They simply haven’t got anywhere else to go.
Dan: I’m like a father to them. Rosie, listen, will you give me a call back? The ants have been asking about the birds and the bees and, well, I just don’t know what to tell them. You know, like when you’re with a lady? What’s that like?
Pam: Rosie, do you have any lotion I could borrow? The trail’s itchy
today. Yeah, over near my toes. The little buggers just get right in there.
Dan: Rosie? They can lift ten times their body weight. That would be like if I could pick up YOU.
Pam: Rosie. The ants are really hungry. Can I borrow one of your sandwiches? It’s the only way I could possibly feed them all.
Dan: Fat jokes. We’re down here with the fat jokes.
Pam: Your move, Blau.
And, scene. And THEN we played Payday. I know. I lost that shit, too.