Once a month, I and five other intellectuals join together for the monthly sharing of knowledge, meeting of minds and sharing of ideas in an establishment that tests the mastermind in all of us. I am of course talking about the pub quiz. With much excitement and purpose, we deliberate, concur, argue and explore all the possibilities and because there are six of us all wanting to be heard and agreed upon, this takes longer than Brian Cox takes to explain the workings of the universe. But eventually, we come up with our team name. Serious business a team name. You want to come across intelligent and serious like your whole life revolves and depends on winning and therefore a team to be reckoned with and to be taken seriously. But also, you want to ooze fun and excitement with a hint of cheek. Everyone loves cheeky and it’s the cheek that makes it acceptable to maybe get an answer wrong when everyone else on planet Earth would know it. In fact you’d have to be living under a rock for the past 40 odd years not to know. Yes, cheek is good.
So with team name in place and our drinks ordered, we are nearly ready. There is just the sorting of the nibbles. The pub is extremely generous in laying on assorted bowls of savoury nibble. We like this. It helps to feed the mind and concentrate. However, the nibbles are randomly placed. On our table, we had onion rings and those little savoury biscuit bites. We scour the pub. Another table had cheesy balls. We wanted them. Cheesy balls are our teams favourite. In stealth mode, the tables are discreetly visited and the plates of precious cheesy balls lifted. We would take them all but for the fact that there are only two bowls on each table. But our group also has the added treat of own bought nibbles of the chocolate variety. It’s a little picnic.
Now we’re ready! And the quiz master seems to know this as she begins . . .
With abated breath, the first question is asked. In our excitement, we may be a little loud and are very sure that we have given answers to our opponents in this way. But we have an answer and we are all 100% sure it is right. This goes for all the other answers too. We love this! We are so good! We are going to win this quiz! We will be victorious, as the questions are confidently answered. Our general knowledge is second to none. The other teams deliberate and we’re sure listen in on us (which isn’t too hard even though we are now trying very hard to whisper) and it takes them forever to write down their answer. We are restless with anticipation! We need this round to be over so we can get our wonderful 10 out of 10 and celebrate before the next round.
And we swap papers. Ours has little doodles over it and extra information too just to show that we know what we’re talking about and to put the fear of God into our opponents- a bit underhand? We don’t think so; anyone can do it, and they choose not to so in our favour it goes. Woo hoo. And we begin to mark. Slowly, the answers come to us as we tick our opponents. These are words we haven’t seen or heard before. For a moment we think the quiz master has mixed up the questions and answers. Ok, so 10 out of 10 maybe a slight exaggeration, after all we have been working all day. And this is nothing new. We always think we’re geniuses and can’t be beaten. We always think we know everything. And it’s always a surprise when the paper comes back less than full marks. You’ve got to love our confidence and ego. And the realisation dawns that the other teams are not listening to us or pinching our answers.
The paper comes back and it’s not too bad, more than 5, less than 10 but we’re still positive we can win this quiz, this time. We have been doing this quiz for about 5 months now. And each month, we turn up with the very same high expectations; to win! And every month we have come. . . . . . Last! And every month, we start off well and then by the 4th round, it’s all gone horribly wrong. The cheesy balls have run out too. Is this a coincidence? I think not! Maybe more cheesy balls are needed to keep us focused. Watching the news occasionally would help.
So we now accept that maybe this is not the time to be thinking of winning, well this month anyway. Last is good. There’s nothing wrong with last. At this pub quiz, last is celebrated with one bag of Pickled onion monster munch . . . between us. We love this! We get a prize! And on a Wednesday morning at break time when there are slim pickings in the staffroom, that bag sees us through until lunch! And then we start gossiping about the quiz and the answers and did we really answer with that?
Our aim has changed but is still high . . . to now come last. But we don’t do this deliberately. It’s either win or lose with us. You get a prize for both. And we love prizes. Who doesn’t? But we will not deliberately come last. Every question is answered truthfully, to the best of our ability. And to be honest, this week we were 4 and everyone else had the maximum of 6. There was only one team that worried us. They were a team of 3 (ok so we weren’t the worse off for numbers) and they were like half our age, at least. Now we have noticed that the winners of the pub quiz are always a mixed team when it comes to age or a team that has ‘experience’ amongst them. We do not. We’re all 40 something meaning music is the same and pretty much everything else. The only history we know is what we’re working on in school with the kids- which sometimes is very handy; E.g. when the question came up about who walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong, as my team had just learnt this fact in class. The fact is we should have known this anyway without sitting in on a class of 6 year olds.
Anyway this team was struggling. You could tell with their gasps of horror when they got their quiz sheet back. You could also tell by the odd whoop of joy followed by squeals of delight that echoed around the pub. The battle for the Monster Munch was on! We were now fretting for our last place! This was unknown territory. How could this be? That bag of pickled onion Monster Munch was ours! We always celebrate coming in last and we get great applause! We assume out of a sporting nature, not pity.
Our demeanour sank, along with the Monster Munch as that honour went to the team of three girls. We were sad. We were disappointed. We lost the bag of Monster Munch by 2 points. Curse our knowledge and wisdom that age brings! Curse the limited amount of cheesy balls. Curse dumb arse questions on bloody British explorers! And curse the anagram round!
But there is always next month . . . aim high to win or even higher for that bag of pickled onion Monster Munch! It will be ours!