Right around 1981 or so I picked up a paperback book at a garage sale about ‘trivia’ - which the cover boldly defined as useless information. It was a dime. A 6th grader at the time, I was just learning the ropes as a nerd swapping random bits of information about Star Wars, Scanners, Aliens, etc. with other nerds. A cursory glance into the book showed it was heavy on James Bond details (Walther PPK was his weapon of choice, my very first piece of deliberately memorized trivia), and I was smitten. A short time later Trivial Pursuit was released in the States, and suddenly everyone was smitten with the useless. My biological father took to it immediately as his cocaine habit hadn’t quite eclipsed his vast archive of bullshit factoids drilled into him by the Jesuits before they kicked him (and Bill Murray!) out of Regis University for smoking pot. Many a late weekend night was spent hearing Terry pontificate about Sports & Leisure, Entertainment and Geography. I admit I stole a lot of knowledge from him in those years, but not enough.
The point of this blog is to exact revenge upon Erik Troe. Erik is a dear friend of mine, but he is a cheat at Trivial Pursuit. Don’t get me wrong, Erik is a genuinely knowledgable dude. The depth of his ability to identify a given jazz artist, tune and era is matched only by my friend John Slover’s ability to nail a particular vintner and vintage of Müller-Thurgau over some vague Riesling. They are idiot savants in these things. I crushed Erik in chess a couple of nights in a row, and so, competitive mother fucker that he is, he casually suggested some Trivial Pursuit. By and large things were evenly paced, with my abilities in Geography and Nature offsetting his much stronger cache of Entertainment and History bits. But, it was his surprising answers in Sports and Arts & Literature I found especially suspicious. We probably only played five complete rounds of the game, but I was quite sure by the second that Erik had in fact made his way through all of the cards in the Genus Edition, memorizing all of the answers - playing coy in a given match until victory could be had by pulling out some 1930s silent film trivia straight from the choad.
I grant him these victories because that must have meant a lot of work at some point. And now, I too am embarking on this course work. I have the original Genus Edition, and I too am going to read every card - researching each question I don’t automatically know. Erik Troe, this is no trivial pursuit. You will lose to me.
Herein I plan to collect anecdotes about the shit I had to research. I’m on card #3 right now. Talk soon.