This coming weekend, I’ll participate in The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As per tradition, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years. This time around, I’m focusing on the Music Question, which asks teams to identify songs on the basis of short snippets edited together.
I have learned from experience that Trivia can really mess with a person’s brain. As questions flutter forth from the radio, I routinely find myself doubting my own knowledge. I might be initially confident about a top-of-the-head answer, and then the second guessing begins. This phenomena is especially pronounced with the Music Question, which offers only a brief bit of a song, almost exclusively the instrumentation. When one of the Music Questions included a portion of the opening piano flurry of Billy Joel’s “Running on Ice,” I recognized it immediately and quickly convinced myself I was wrong. Now, I have some expertise in the works of William Martin Joel. My collection has long included every one of his studio albums, as well as the Hassles’ Hour of the Wolf and Attila’s self-titled LP (I will not be taking questions at this time). The Bridge, the Joel album that includes “Running on Ice” as the lead track, was released when I was sixteen, an age when any music geek’s turntable is in constant motion, so I listened to the record a ludicrous, likely excessive, amount. None of that mattered. I couldn’t believe in my own certainty. This was still several years back, before seemingly every song could be retrieved from some distant server. Unable to confirm my suspicion, I was left to stew. When the deadline for submitting answers was upon us, a few agonizing hours later, we went with my unsteady answer. I was right. I was right all along. Listening to the song’s distinctive intro now, I’m exasperated with my former self that I could have ever equivocated. That’s the way it goes with our Trivia contest, though. No matter how sure an answer feels, my nerves are jangled until the voice on the radio confirms we got it right.
More info about 90FM’s Trivia can be found at its official website or at the radio station’s online home. There’s also a feature documentary about the contest, but it’s fairly hard to come by these days. To see how my team is faring over the weekend, Twitter is probably the best bet.