Some of us got together this weekend to play in a trivia contest/fundraiser, and we ended up winning the grand prize: $500. We split it 10 ways, and we each paid to sign up, but even so…YAY! It was maybe even more exciting than the time I won 750 nickels at a riverboat casino. Plus, one of the people on our team was having a birthday, so there was cake.
We were warned in advance that the guy calling the questions was pretty obnoxious, telling jokes you can’t believe made anyone laugh ever. I almost admire how strong the guy’s spirit must be if he can continue to keep trying, really. Early on, I joked with the birthday girl that I don’t know why she bothered to warn me about him because that guy was awesome! I told her I thought I loved him, and I wanted to commit to that bit for the rest of the evening. By the third round, though, I couldn’t do it any more. Jokes about penguins in bars and broccoli that’s been in a tragic accident and will be a vegetable the rest of its life outweighed my desire to be contrarian.
I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to contribute to the team, especially when the second round was all sports questions. It might as well be called The One Where McKelvy Drinks A Lot. But then they asked the name of Ross’ monkey on Friends, and…I didn’t even know I knew the answer, but I heard myself say, “Marcel!” So, I guess I knew that. Sometimes I find the way my brain works a little embarrassing. What I mean is, there’s all this stuff that is stuck in there that I never meant to learn at all, and I certainly didn’t make a conscious effort to remember. And yet, there it is, taking up valuable real estate where I could have filed away some facts on world leaders. Like, I wish I remember more from a class I took on Northern Ireland, but the most prominent memory from that class is that one day the professor kept saying the name Chichester Clark over and over. His accent made it hard to tell if we’d heard him correctly, and several of us thought the name seemed improbable. We kept trying different interpretations of what he was saying (Winchester? Chicky Hester?), and the more he said the name, the more we started to snicker. The professor finally stopped and asked if everything was all right. I have no idea what Chichester Clark did to become so important that he was mentioned once every seven minutes, but every time I think of the name, I feel the urge stifle a giggle.
I remember a lot of entertainment facts because I watch too much TV and I like reading about television and movies, but also because when I’m standing in line at a supermarket or a convenience store, there are no glossy magazines detailing the troubles of the linen industry in Ireland in the 1920s.  I can, however, learn more than I ever wanted to know about what’s going on in J. Lo’s uterus (and, for the record, I would like to know exactly nothing about this). That goes a long way to explaining why I was able to name all six of Angelina Jolie’s kids. Like the other question, I didn’t know I knew, but my teammate Devin and I did it with no problem.  We share a curiosity about what people name their kids. After hearing about people who name their kid Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee) or Kal-el (I’m looking at you, Nicholas Cage) or Audio Science (Really, Shannyn Sossamon?  Really?), I want to know if people gave their kids real names or “dog’s names tagged on to children.”
I’m not proud that I can tell you that Angelina and Brad are parents to Shiloh, Pax, Knox, Maddox, Zahara, and Vivienne Marcheline, but it did help us win cold, hard cash. Not as much as Shea’s knowledge of both football history and modern American designers, but still…