By Parker Barry
Our team name was “Heidegger says we should spend more time in graveyards because death is the ONLY promise in life.” Heidegger is a 20th-century German existentialist philosopher. I was feeling existential and decided to make everyone at trivia night (every other Thursday at 6 p.m. in Wyatt 101) jump on the death-is-the-only-promise-in-life train.
The mood at trivia night last Thursday was a bit bleak. It seemed that all of the students just wanted to get in, answer the questions, and get out. The just-get-it-done attitude was kind of strange; it is, after all, something that is supposed to be fun, right? Usually the energies are high and people are yelling, joking and raising their fists to the sky in a motion of despair. This time I was told to be quiet by one of the heads of History Club, which was detrimental to my already fragile and inconsistent ego.
“We had a small turnout tonight because of the time change — we changed our time from 7 to 6 on Thursdays so we lost some of our people that are … frequent flyers,” Justin Loye, one of the leaders of History Club and a junior at the University of Puget Sound, said.
Sophomore Bennett Johnson and junior Anna Stenson were on my team and it turned out that Anna Stenson was weirdly good at trivia. It was due to her trivia knowledge and overall intellectual gumption that our team got second-to-last place. This was exciting but also a little disappointing because I have gotten last place at trivia night every Thursday since I started going and I am very proud of that fact. Being last is almost like being first — at least in last place you are uniquely worse than everyone rather than just thrown in with the other mediocre trivia players.
“It was less intimidating than I thought it would be but also harder than I thought it would be,” Johnson said.
The questions at trivia night are incredibly difficult if you are a normal, sane person. The leaders, senior Nick Kulawiak and Loye, would have you believe that they aren’t that difficult, giving you looks of patronizing disapproval to match your look of manic confusion. Some of the questions last week were: “What US city do these things represent,” accompanied by a picture of a woman’s gaping mouth and a little forest mouse. The answer was Boca Raton … how was I supposed to get that? Another question was “What philosopher thought that humanity would end with ‘the life of man: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’” For this question I used the “phone a friend” option (you can call a friend at the end of the round of questions and ask them one of the questions you couldn’t figure out).
I didn’t phone a friend; I phoned my father, who has read every book in existence. I call him every trivia night and he has yet to be wrong, so maybe he should just take my place on the “Heidegger says we should spend more time in graveyards because death is the ONLY promise in life” team. As soon as I said “trivia night” and “solitary,” my dad said, “Hobbes” and hung up the phone. He, of course, was right. So don’t come to trivia night thinking it will be a breezy fun walk in the academic park.
The questions aren’t easy and the competition is rigorous. It is, however, loads of fun and as long as you aren’t set on making it to the top three it is a truly joyful and undeniably interesting experience. You don’t have to be a history or humanities major to have fun!
“Here’s some things I love: I love academics inside the classroom, but more so, I love academics outside the classroom. Second thing I love is competing. I love to compete inside the classroom but more so I love to compete outside the classroom. Do you know what combines those two things perfectly, meshes academics, competition, and being outside the classroom, in Wyatt hall nonetheless? Trivia club,” Stenson said. I would like to point out that Stenson said “trivia club,” which is an error because trivia night is put on by History Club, which does not totally add up because the only thing History Club does is trivia night and the trivia questions often seem to have little or absolutely nothing to do with history.
“Some of the questions have to do with history, some of them with pop culture; history is a broad spectrum because history is anything that happened in the past,” Loye said.
Loye’s failed attempts at trying to convince the readers of the Trail that trivia night has anything to do with history is the sort of endearing attitude that the leaders of history club bring every other Thursday.