This coming weekend, I’ll participate in the fifty-third staging of The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As per tradition, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years.
For those of us who are most devoted to the strange little springtime pursuit that involves frantically digging for answers to questions broadcast by a modest, student-run radio station, attentiveness to possible Trivia Weekend fodder never relents. Because it’s a contest built more for looking up information than popping off with top-of-the-noggin knowledge, some amount of formal detail gathering takes place when watching movies and television during the interim between Trivias. There are also times when something distinctive bit of business locks in the memory when deeply set instincts blare like an alarm, insisting, “Now this is something they will ask in the next Trivia contest.”
It probably doesn’t come across as an example of the most wildly inventive thinking that one of the first instances in my Trivia playing career where I experienced dead certainty of future question came when I watched onscreen characters engaged in their own version of trivia contest. In the 1998 film Pleasantville, high school student David (Tobey Maguire) is a superfan of a fictional nineteen-fifties sitcom set in a idyllic town, and he passes the time during the lunch hour swapping stumpers with his fellow devotees of the old show. In my defense, my personal radar didn’t blip at the name of the person whose window Bud broke while playing with his dad’s golf clubs or the reasons the program’s parents came home early from their weekend at the lake. Nope, I was contentedly confident that the only particular that needed to retained from the scene was the name that Bud and Mary Sue gave to the cat they found in the gutter.
Some six months later, the Trivia contest unfurled question by question across an April weekend. Sure enough, knowing the rescued feline was dubbed Marmalade put some Trivia points in our coffers. I don’t remember how many points it was. It didn’t really matter. The lottery-win rush of satisfaction in a prediction hitting the mark was what matters. In a marathon contest, you take every triumph you can get.
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.