Ask a Fifth-Year

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob,

I got out of my Freshman Studies lecture on the film “The Battle of Algiers” the other day, when all of a sudden I was bombarded by people protesting the movie and yelling stuff like “Vote Nick Paulson to stop the Algerian War!” and “Play trivia!” They were about as nutty as a fruitcake. Today there were a bunch of people wearing shirts that said “Trivia Master,” and they were blocking that darned staircase on my way to Andrew Commons! I was furious, nay, enraged! And yet… they captured my attention. So what the heck is this confounded trivia thing that I keep hearing about?


Ignorantly Intrigued.

Wow, that one’s a doozy. But I’m willing to entertain your rather wordy question.

Trivia has been discussed by the previous two Ask a Fifth-Year columnists — Drew Baumgartner, a Trivia Master, and Evan Williams, most often the sole member of the Conservatory trivia team.

Trivia is a contest held the last weekend of January by an eclectic group of individuals known as Trivia Masters. This contest is run out of the WLFM radio station. It is their task to run the contest and torture its participants with insanely difficult questions that the most thorough Google search might not be able to answer.

Interspersed between these absurd questions are contests known as “action questions.” Any team that is playing on campus can try to win this side quest.

In a past year, one action question asked teams to bring Pete Huck, a Lawrence student at the time, to the radio station. One team was lucky enough to find him while others broke into his room to steal his ID or simply dressed up like him.

In my opinion, the best part of Trivia is the action questions. The worst part is general trivia, where you search to find those impossible answers. Sandwiched in the middle of these extremes is phone answering.

For the contest to run smoothly, the Trivia Masters ask for volunteers to answer phones and collect answers. This act combines my passion for messing with strangers and free food — a near constant stream of free pizza is available to the phone answerers.

If none of this makes sense, that’s because it shouldn’t. One must experience Trivia to truly understand its “aboutness.”

I’ve killed my zombie wife for Trivia. I’ve witnessed a pack of Kohlerites crash a frat party in order to play “Dungeons and Dragons.” I’ve convinced a Trivia Master that Erik Satie wrote a trombone duet called “Sexual Symphony.” If you survive this upcoming weekend of Trivia, you will understand what this all means.

Simply put, trivia is about having infantile fun for a weekend, and if you don’t want that, you’re dead to me. Also, you have a stupid face.

Also, to any Trivia Masters reading this, I’m still sore about 420 hour last year. We spent a lot of money/time on that pizza. There may have been some love involved in making it, too. I’m not too sure; I was very tired at the time.

If I have survived the weekend, feel free to send a question my way at