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The Great Midwest Trivia Contest is hosted by a certain private university located in Appleton, WI. The cupola was adorned with a pirate flag for the contest’s yarrly theme. Yes, we swashbuckled the Nipple of Knowledge. Being a trivia master was maybe the peak manifestation of my capabilities as a human. Normally, I walk around and live life feeling conked on the head by something large and made of metal, but not during trivia. I’m nothing more than a humble silly loon who wishes to roost with her flock, and nesting with trivia this year made me so so happy. It was an awestriking experience. I shed some salt water out of my lids when it was over.
GMTC-style trivia is all about panache in question-crafting and the sanctity of all that is truly trivial. Why should I care that Graz is the capital of the Austrian state of Styria when Sandwich Monsters created a sandwich called “Ribs Bader Ginsburg?!” Why should I care that Ignacio Anaya invented nachos when a Turkish Airlines plane got nicknamed “Deli Mike?” It’s a fine line between trivia like “Ribs Bader Ginsburg” or “Deli Mike” and a fact related to some commonly known entities and commodities like nachos or Styria. You could present the same dry questions or ask your triviateer to ponder the following: “I’ve got a special high-density layout configured for optimum hajj pilgrimage and I’m incident prone. What’s my name?”
With so many things to lose hope in, with so many wonders of life rationalized and commodified to death and despair. With the wonder of life and existence sapped and a world in need of re-enchantment, trivia reminds us that it’s all around us. Even if we don’t see it, even if it’s not catered to us, served on a platter to profit from, beauty is here.
Kids these days don’t know the difference between kitsch, camp and liminal.
Alexa, play “Africa” by Toto and queue “Hang on Sloopy” by the McCoys.
GMTC Trivia is liminal. 50 hours of ecstatic mania where time stops and the center of the universe is localized inside a classroom in Briggs Hall.
GMTC Trivia is camp. Camp often distinguishes what makes a truly miraculous trivia question. Ribs Bader Ginsburg is camp, Deli Mike is camp, so is the “Franz Kafka Makes me Horny Metamorphosis Mug” and the famed Peter Griffin tarot card (now available as a holographic sticker!)
We need more bawdy-gaudy, hurdy-gurdy, topsy-turvy mischief! Sometimes, there is too much to make sense of, so we’ve just got to confuse and delight in turning tricks, devious licks and expert picks. Is dedicating an hour to Mollusk-themed trivia too extra? We don’t think so. Ussy Hour with Rebecca, Klezmommy Hour with Willow and Bureaucracy Hour with Nick were highlights of my life, actually.
GMTC Trivia is by no means kitsch, it’s the dander under the chair. Trivia can’t be bottled and sold. During our 50-hour long witches’ sabbath, while the cauldrons bubble and boil with the nooks and crannies of life, the toil will not be mass deployed as snake oil. We do have memes, we do have themes, we have traditions and long-standing teams. None are kitsch, and all are rich. It shows an evolution of our nature and nurture, of the structure and stature where our posture tends the pastures, our eeby deeby. What if trivia, they thought, didn’t come from a store. What if trivia, perhaps, means a little bit more.
Hello trivia! Now as I prepare to matriculate, I must say goodnight HM Emeritus Nick, goodnight HM Maddie, goodnight TMs, goodnight teams. Goodnight Skull Squadron, goodnight Holy Bromans, goodnight Hobgoblin. It’s been such a blast. See you all at 1830 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614.
We can never have too much trivia in the pants. Trivia is, as the Italian saying goes, “la squadra del cuore.” Why would you need to eat acid and see God, when we have trivia? Trivia is about hugging every pebble on the road and telling each of them they’re our important little babies.
It’s a process we’ll never have a reason to complete. Every pebble’s personality — every pebble’s story — is lost to time, but ready to be written. Trivia is about writing those stories into the book of time and space. We may be trivia “masters,” but in reality we’re just dorky college kids with a little too much time to spare. Anyone with enough love in their heart for the beauty of everything in existence can master this craft that is trivia. Enjoy your broken toy car! Happy hunting! Trivia loves you!