By Marsha Wilson Rappaport
I am one of those geeks who bought multiple editions of Trivial Pursuit as soon as they came out. Jeopardy was “must-see” TV. My friends and family spent many moments staring at me in wonder as I blurted out weird international factoids. And yet, as I grew older, my zest for trivia competition had slowly been reassigned to sitting in front of a computer or phone screen. My introverted personality had discovered the perfect way to express my geekiness without interacting with humans.
My congregation started a once a month trivia night years ago. It was one of those things I knew I needed to try. It was good for my mental health, it was good to get out of the house – it was going to help me stay vertical. And yet, I passively watched the announcement each month and made excuses for not going.
This October I changed. I ignored my desire to turn on the television and sit in my chair. I did my paperwork the night before so I would not have an excuse to turn on the computer. I put my phone in my pocket and went downtown to play with other people.
I arrived at the craft beer place downtown and immediately had to fight the urge to turn back. My congregation wasn’t there. And the room was filled with young doctors from the university, young girls in yoga pants, and guys with trendy beards and flannel shirts.
When the bearded master of ceremonies came over and asked me what team I was going to play with, I lamely answered “Team Marsha”. He looked at me, explained the point system, gave a stack of white slips of paper and didn’t laugh at me.
I made up my mind to do this. I ordered a hot dog plate with some highly addictive fries. Although there was a board with a long list of craft beers, my current health regime limited me to a glass of water with snappy craft ice cubes.
I hid against the wall at my little lone team table, next to the designer bicycles of the other players. The only thing worse than their fitness was the trendy expensive bumble bee helmets hanging on their handle bars which signaled fitness, good sense and high credit card limits.
The game began and I was already a standout. The young folks had really cool team names blended with profanities and sexual innuendos. When teams were called, they all pivoted to look at who missed the point.
The contest itself was even more challenging.
For example, did you know that in 2005 Google sold a stock offering equal to a piece of the mathematical “Pi”? Pi is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. I was clueless. Did you know that Marie Curie named the element Plutonium after her home county of Poland? Hey, I thought naming it after the Planet Pluto was a reasonable guess.
Ultimately I did know that Exxon was the largest company in Texas. But I still missed the Exxon/Mobil part
No matter. I was out of the house for a couple of hours enjoying my geekiness in public. I may have to invest in a flannel shirt in order to fit in. But – I’ll be back!
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