Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Knowing Some Things Scares Me

Back when my husband and I first arrived in Japan, we enjoyed playing Trivial Pursuit. We had the original version before it had been dumbed down as well as a couple of expansions. Though we liked playing it, there were a few problems. One was that I was seriously handicapped when it came to sports categories. I don't like sports and I don't know anything about them.

My cluelessness about sports inspired a running joke that is still going to this day. Any time a question about sports came up and I had no decent guess, I'd always say "Pete Rose". It didn't matter what sport the question was about, hockey, horse racing, football, I'd pause and think hard then answer "Pete Rose." Even now, if a sport comes up, I'll ask my husband something like, 'you know who is the highest scoring basketball player in history is?' And he'll reply with, "Pete Rose?"

Besides my sports ignorance making it damn near impossible for me to win a game (I'd spend half the game getting the last wedge), we also had problems playing with our friends because the game was so America-centric. The friends we attempted to play the game with were from England and Australia and there was no way they would or should know all of the pop culture, historical, and sports facts. We tried playing in teams to balance this, but it really wasn't much fun for our friends who didn't know silly things like who played Frank Burns on M*A*S*H. I'm guessing the British editions must include things like who played General Melchett on Black Adder. These are examples of the types of questions that are easy for those in the culture, but nearly impossible for those outside of it.

There is a web site called Mental Floss which has a lot of different articles, quizzes, etc. I've actually known about Mental Floss for quite some time as their articles were often featured on blogcritics (which I used to write for, but it's rather fallen by the wayside since my old blog passed away). Recently, I came across some pop culture quizzes through Mental Floss which reminded me of playing Trivial Pursuit. The first quiz I tried was about Milhouse on the Simpsons and I did very badly despite watching the show a fair amount. I guess I just don't pay attention to Milhouse, though I suspect that's part of his overall problem in life. (I hope that I retain some of my Simpsons credibility though when I say that I got 100% on the Troy McClure Film or Actual Terrible Movie quiz.)

One of the other quizzes is the "George Costanza Candy Identification Quiz". This one shows you various candy bars without their wrappers and you're supposed to try and identify the bars by their external appearance alone. They aren't bitten into or cut apart so you cannot see the interior of the bars. I was rather spooked to see that I got 100%. I didn't realize I was that into candy bars when I was a kid, but I guess I must have eaten more than I recall. I'm going to blame Halloween and trick or treating literally for hours. I guess getting so much candy that we had to empty out our bags into shopping bags in the car so they weren't too heavy to carry meant we got an awful lot of candy experience.

My husband did a few of the quizzes as well. He scored perfectly on things like naming all of the Democratic and Republican candidates who took part in the first presidential debates for the current election. He also was able to name all of the current supreme court justices and did very well on a quiz about what happened to a variety of presidents after they left office. Given that I knew all the candy bars and fake movies made by a character on the Simpsons and he knew all this political stuff, there was almost certainly more between me and victory at Trivial Pursuit than just a sports wedge.


Helen said...

I used to love playing Trivial Pursuit, but my nemesis was always Geography. Since I've been here in Japan, I only played once, back in Canada for Christmas. Beat my brother in law and his family twice, just for good measure. :-)

I've played a couple of different versions of the game. I get what you mean about the culture aspects. It's one of the reasons I don't have anyone to play it with over here.

Did you know that Trivial Pursuit was created by Canadians? Just some trivial info for you!

Lulu said...

I love Trivial Pursuit but I am quite poor at it. I do love to play though, especially with my family. I am quite bad at Science and Nature sections but better at Sport/Entertainment and sometimes History. We play an Australian version though?! A lot of the questions relate to Aussie sport and history so it is a bit easier I guess.

I do like to learn new things though and Trivial Pursuit is good for that.

Helen- I had no idea that Trivial Pursuit was created by Canadians! That is cool!

Wombat said...

Just for clarity's sake, I'd like to mention that I'm fairly certain at least 4 of the current Supreme Court Justices are named Pete Rose.

Anonymous said...

I had so much fun playing trivial Persuit, used to watch mum and dad play over cocktails with friends.. that along with Uno and Skippo.. "giggles!

I have not played since college.. oh, my--

I do not think I am well with it any longer, I must have WENT for stupid or had a series "dohhh" days...

Helen, I had no idea, That is really, really cool!