They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (and other trivial pursuits)

The 437th annual trivia night to benefit the Center for Autism Education took place Friday night at the usual place, the Elks Lodge in O’Fallon. (I may be exaggerating about how long we’ve been doing trivia night. It just seems that long. But we love it.)

Usually I run the trivia team selection process with an iron fist. You gotta get the right mix of people, preferably smart ones. And you can only have eight. And after 437 years you can imagine how many people have come and gone and how hard it is to put together just the right team.

This year things went all to hell. It started with Laurie posting a big announcement on Facebook inviting everyone and their dog to join our trivia group. Then her friends joined in. Then a couple of my Arc-related friends joined in. Then Trent started inviting a half-dozen people I never heard of.

“Trent, we can only have 8 people on the team.”

She then proceeded to invite a couple more people.

“Trent, do you understand how math work?”

Laurie decides we can field three teams and makes the team assignments. What’s happening? When did I lose control? I want Tim on my team!

I decided best to just step back and let others run things for a change. The teams were set, decisions were being made regarding snacks, all was going according to normal until the day of decision.

“We can’t find a babysitter!”

“We can’t either!”

“I have to work that night!”

“I have a cold!”

Trent’s team was especially falling apart, including Trent, who was using the cold excuse. Fortunately Melfy stepped up and took over Team Trent because Melfy has so many friends because she is so beloved. Her trivia-cheating husband, on the other hand…

So the event begins with my team showing up at the last minute as usual. We’re having a pretty decent night, not at the top of the list but not at the bottom. Closer to the top than the bottom. Like every year.

Team Roy and Team Finley maintain a pretty friendly rivalry. We usually help each other out when we can. But it all turned south during the TV Theme Song category. The second song snippet sounded a lot like the theme to “Glee,” which I am ashamed to admit I watched for one season. No one else on the team would back me, probably because they didn’t want to admit to watching “Glee.”

At the end of the round Greg asks what No. 1 was — I confidently answer “The Odd Couple.” What did you put for No. 2, I ask. “Mad Men,” Greg says. It seems like an awfully peppy theme song for Mad Men, but I’ve never watched it so what do I know? No one else on the team has a clue. So against my better judgement, I change my answer.

Of course, it was “Glee.” Curse you, Greg Finley! Why did I fall for that? How stupid am I?

Now, trivia nights are fun and all and everything they do raises money for a good cause but lord a’mighty does this thing run long. Too long. In large part because of all the silly games that take place between rounds. Some don’t take too long, some take far too long — like horse racing. There’s this horse racing game that I don’t understand but it goes on and on and they kept playing it round after round. I hope it raised a lot of money for the center because I was ready to start shooting some horses by round 9.

In the end we finished a few points ahead of Team Hein but behind Team Finley. Some would blame it on the sports category that killed us in round 10, but I clearly blame it on sabotage by Mad Man Greg. Laurie won a lot of free food and oil changes in the raffles so that was nice. If anyone needs an autism awareness ribbon magnet, call me.

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