Confusion Corner: Senioritis leads to search for different, trivial education

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March 24, 2011

11:50 PM

I have recently become a very enthusiastic trivia player at the Green Leafe Cafe on Monday nights. This new obsession is due in part to my ever-increasing senioritis and my ever-decreasing lack of enthusiasm for schoolwork. But it is also due to the fact that trivia is just a fun activity to participate in. Although the cheese fries and beer don’t hurt either. I imagine most College of William and Mary students out there would second my thoughts regarding the merits of trivia games; the College is just that kind of school.

The ironic thing about trivia, though, is that it is nearly impossible to get better at it. There is no way to predict the topics or to memorize all of the possible minute details of life on which trivia thrives. Over the past several weeks of trivia, topics have included the games on the Price is Right, Beanie Baby names and acoustic cartoon theme songs, just to name a few. Now, I don’t know about you, but these are not areas of knowledge in which most normal people excel or consider themselves to be “pros.”

I attend trivia every week with a somewhat consistent group of smart and savvy friends. This semester, we want to place among the top trivia teams one week. So far, we have yet to come anywhere close to achieving this lofty goal. One particularly challenging week, we only managed to get a handful of questions right — out of 50 possible questions, if you absolutely must know. We have decided we have only two possible options for improving our chances of winning. One: Recruit, recruit, recruit. If you are interested, please contact me for a preliminary screening of random facts.

Two: Each of us will develop an arbitrary specialty of knowledge every week, in the hopes that they will come in handy. For example, one of my friends is learning the names for groups of animals for next week. So far she has covered groups of apes (a shrewdness), groups of buffalo (an obstinacy) and groups of kittens (an intrigue). If any of you readers out there happen to have any say in the Green Leafe trivia topics, please keep this in mind.

All of this trivia has brought back memories of childhood games of Trivial Pursuit with my family. I consider my family to be a relatively diverse group of people with an even more diverse knowledge of random, probably useless factoids. But when presented with Trivial Pursuit 1990s Edition, my family was stumped over and over again and flummoxed to the point that many of us questioned whether or not we actually lived through the elusive decade of the ’90s. Trivial Pursit has to be the single most obscure collection of questions known to man. When perusing some of the question cards from this era, however, I did find one gem: Question: “What did cleaning crews remove 600 pounds of from the Statue of Liberty in 1990?” Answer: See the end of this article.

I think the trouble with trivia is that it goes against everything we have learned thus far in college and in school in general. Very little of what I have learned in the classroom will ever come in handy in the wide world of trivia. Studying is essentially useless, and specializing in a single major merely makes your scope of random knowledge very narrow. If your goal is to become a trivia superstar, you must watch as many random television shows and movies and read as many bizarre books and articles as you can, talk with the widest variety of people you can find, and watch Jeopardy! like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately, the college lifestyle is not terribly conducive to this, which is why I plan on graduating in May.

Answer: Chewing gum! Gross, but not hard to believe if you take the time to look under almost any classroom desk or table on this campus. Except, of course, those in Miller Hall.

__Emily Walker is a Flat Hat confusion corner columnist and apologizes for calling her friends by Beany Baby names lately. Contact Emily at [email protected]__

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