Monday isn’t your typical on-the-town night, but for some time now I’d been eying a listing in the events section of the paper about a family-friendly Monday night trivia event.
Various locations offer this wild yet nerdy pursuit, but only Four Daughters Irish Pub dares people to darken downtown Medford and put full cerebral throttle in gear on Monday nights.
I mean, most weeks I don’t have a full head of steam until about Thursday at 3 p.m., aka, naptime. Exaggeration is a practiced skill. Lynn was clearly up for an adventure, and I may have used the words “only a reconnaissance mission.”
I’d read a stale TripAdvisor post that said to arrive at 7 to get a good seat for the 7:30 starting gun. We made it by 7, even though it meant missing “Jeopardy,” but it now begins at 7, so there was no time for orientation.
Molly, one of the Four and filling in as hostess for the evening, asked if we were there to play. I said yes. The yearning to test all those years of yelling “Jeopardy” answers at the flat screen proved too strong. Molly handed us a cryptic (to us) sheet of paper with information outlining how their game worked. So when Molly took hold of the microphone to announce the categories for round one of four, I peered to the back of the dimly lit pub at our foes, I mean, competitors. Tables and sofa arrangements were full of experienced players giving us the stink-eye. The Pointer Sisters (from Eagle Point), a name we had to conjure inside of 20 seconds, took the novice post nearest the door for a quick escape.
I sighed audibly when, unlike “Jeopardy,” I learned we get time to think before answering the questions. No buzzers or fast reflexes required, thereby leveling the field.
We were given slips of paper on which to write our team name, answer, and how many points we wagered. Each round lists specific numbers for points, and each may be used once during the round. High-scoring team wins. There is strategy in the betting, but reading an encyclopedia from cover to cover — as had second-place winners Pastor Murray and his wife — gives a team the edge. Having a judge on your team also doesn’t hurt, as the two-man wiseacres who took first proved. My head swelled slightly just realizing we knew members of the top two teams — the closest I’ll likely come to trivia exaltation.
The highlight came at halftime when we received a sheet of match-up questions. These involved various fears. There was no word listed for fear of stupid answers, so I made one up — whydidievenphobia. However, we astounded ourselves at being one of only three teams out of 10 that got every answer right. We knew our fears, by gum. Another newsworthy moment arrived when we were the sole team to get one of the answers right. I’m still gloating over that one.
For the final question, she announced three clues, one at a time. Answering after the first clue earns more points, but if wrong, you lose 20. Well anyone could mistake Shawn White for Tanya Harding, couldn’t they? Sorry, Lynn. I got overly excited when we didn’t end up in last place.
Things I learned from our first trivia night: Don’t drink wine. It is a depressant. Strong coffee should be encouraged instead. Generally it’s advisable to go with your gut and put down your first response. We learned this the hard way. And finally, when answering what river is the longest on the European continent, do not say the Volgate, which is neither a river nor a political scandal among vermin, but an aberration of the principal Latin version of the Bible from the fourth century. Volga is what you want.
We’ll be back.
Reach freelance writer Peggy Dover (that’s me) at firstname.lastname@example.org and on her Facebook page.