if i were to try to put my finger on it, i'd say it has something to do with information that you really could very well know, only you and most other people probably do not off the top of your head, though there's enough peripheral information intrinsic in the question that you and everyone else in the bar can happily delve the recesses of your brains to try to work out the answer for the next five minutes, and feel good about doing it--even wrong guesses being fun to make. and, when you get a good question right, you feel vindicated, while, while, when you get a good question wrong, you instinctively want to pound your hand against your forehead and immediately say "ask me another one!". forget who led the american league in triples in 1980-whatever, and even if you're a sports-involved guy like me, you just think to yourself, "so what?" and wonder if there's a re-run of "wkrp in cincinnati" somewhere on your TV at home. (doctor johnny fever, played by howard hesseman, came to wkrp after being fired from elsewhere for saying what word on the air?).
so, anyway, here in lowell on wednesday nights, a number of bars run something called "stump trivia". (though, if you look at stump trivia's website, it would appear possible that one of 'em is bootlegging it, and the only question i might ask after having played a few rounds of "stump trivia" at each of those establishments in the last while is "why the heck would anyone want to do that???") they ask questions like "what won the oscar for best picture in 1980-whatever?", and, "who hit which ball the best the most times in 1980-whatever?", and, except for the overweening sensation of falling asleep, i can't really remember anything else about my times there.
why am i so bitter and jaded, you ask?
for many weeks over the past year or two, major's pub used to host a trivia night on wednesdays that was remarkably un-stump-like, meaning, actually fun, hosted by lowell's own dee tension. questions often (even!) had peripheral (sometimes direct) pertinence to lowell. there were commentary leitmotifs, such as dirk mcgurk turning up as a reported acceptable answer to almost any question for which most folks, laughingly, hadn't had a clue, such as whenever a bar full of mostly white people encounter a question related to ODB, which, i now know, stands for "old dirty bastard", and that right there is funny in and of itself, too. (leitmotif is itself also a commentary leitmotif if you've been following certain world cup trivial comment threads on facebook, but i digress). folks who remember thomas dolby were celebrated each and every night with at least one question taken from the category of "science", (SCIENCE!), and if you can't remember "she blinded me" with same, then, happily, i can recommend for you "stump trivia" instead. but if you liked to have fun with your brain on a wednesday night, there was no better place to be.
alas, it's wednesday again, and i'm once again sad that it simply isn't to be. "stump trivia"? it even pains me to know it's out there. where are you, dee tension, and where is the bar owner in town intelligent enough to recognize a good and right thing when it's out there. no, i'm sure nobody was getting rich on prizes like $25 gift certificates and beer-brand t-shirts, just as i'm sure that nobody was getting rich bankrolling same, on top of dee's honorarium for the night, while a few dozen people drank beer at a bar. but, really, is making lots of money really the only point anyone ever has down here these days?
well, fellow babies, the fourteenth state added to the union is vermont, (being part of new york state upon independence), the word the good doctor found himself banished for was "booger", and there's nothing quite as lame as trying to perambulate on a stump, no matter how many 25 cent chicken wings they throw at you while you're doing it.
i absolutely positively have to buy my own bar. anyone know of any space for sale downtown?