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Applebee's Trivia

Every week Nancy drags me to Applebee's to play trivia with her and some of her friends. I don't want to go. For one thing it's on Wednesdays so I have to tape The Bachorlette and Extreme Makeover: Weightless Edition, which is harder than you might think because most people have those DVR recorders but I just have a VCR, and getting ahold of tapes is hard these days.† Sure you can tape over episodes, but if it's a really good one then I don't like doing that, or after awhile the tape gets worn out.† Walmart used to stock one package of VHS tapes and keep them next to coaxial cables, but they don't even have them. Usually what I do is† go to Goodwill and buy the tapes that have movies on them and just record over the movie. It's okay, the fewer copies of Mystic Pizza or Overboard in the world the better.

Text Box:  Artist rendering of my team winning
Artist rendering of my team winning

Every week I ask why I have to go to Applebee's to answer trivia when Jeopardy comes to us and Nancy says its because my court appointed therapist thinks I need more social interactions. According to that prude pretending to be a ten year old girl and stringing along pedophiles doesn't isn't good enough. Before Applebee's had a trivia night we use to go clubbing at this cool club that was a bowling alley during the day. After ten they turned on strobe lights and turned the Sirius radio up really loud but there were still arcade machines and sometimes they gave away free tokens. It was really cool, I almost had enough tickets for a stuffed dolphin but they went out of business. Now we go to Applebee's.

I don't have a problem with Applebee's (Nancy lets me drink as much pop as I want when we go and we get a half-off appetizer) or the people who go with (They believed me when I said I had spilled my drink that one time I had too much pop) what I hate is the trivia. The entire trivia set up is bollocks, pure bollocks.

Firstly the bar area at Applebee's isn't big enough. Because we live in an area with few attractions or businesses trivia night pulls in a lot of folks. They try to contain it to the bar room but it ends up overflowing into nearby booths. I'm not even sure why Applebee's has their bar walled in. Do they think patrons are going to get too drunk off of spiked lemonade and get so rowdy they disturb families eating cheese infused meatballs? They need to take out the wall and put in some more tables.

Then there is the service. I know it is busy, but it is busy every week. They should be use to it. I will admit I know nothing about how being a waitress works, even though I own a costume, but if somebody asks for water why does it take 15 minutes to get the water? Don't they just have to walk to the sink and fill up the glass? And why do we have to ask multiple people for more chips? If our Ultimate Trio has two dipping based foods we should have extra chips right out of the gate, but really, is it hard to get more chips? Its not like they have to put it in to the kitchen or something, I assume they just have a barrel filled with chips some place back there. By the time we wrangle anybody into actually getting us the chips we don't need them anymore because out of desperation we have decided to eat the rest of the spinach dip with out spoons.

Now everything can be forgiven, missing the best TV has to offer, fitting nine people in a booth, having to order immediately when we arrive lest we never see the waitress again, if the trivia was good.

The trivia is not good.

Trivia man is an idiot.

Trivia man seems like he is nice. He takes jokes and shouted insults with good humor. The problem is that he isn't good at making trivia questions.

A good trivia question should be something that an expert in the field would know, but anybody can figure out a guess for. For example, the question may be "Besides Dr. Xavier name two of the original X-Men."†

This is a question that people who read the comics probably know, but an educated guess could be made by anybody who saw the various cartoons or movies. Casual viewers know that Cyclops is the leader so that is a good guess, and Jean Grey or Beast are also pretty well known so they might get guessed. Nobody knows who Angel or Iceman are because they are losers.

The trivia guy at my Applebee's does not work like that. His questions are either so easy everybody in the world knows the answer or so specific only a super expert would know. His question would be something like "In 1997 how many times Nightcrawler make guest appearances in comics besides Excalibur" and the answer is "Fuck, nobody knows, at least every other team got this one wrong as well"

This man once asked three questions in a row about how much milk is put into things. He might have well just said "Does anybody here work with dairy? Okay your team gets three points" Because the only person who knows how much milk is in ice cream is also the only person who knows how much milk is in butter and cheese.

The final straw came when he decided to do a round that was nothing but sports questions. My group of shut ins, biologists, engineers, and other kind of biologists were already ready to leave when he said that. We don't know anything about sports. Unfortunately we forgot about the half hour wait time between asking for our checks and the waiters wandering by our table so we could ask for our checks again.

Trivia man explained how the round would work. The first ten questions he would name an award and you had to write down how you win the award. After some prodding he decided he would take it easy on us and also say what sport it was for. That meant the questions would still be impossible, but slightly less impossible. My team just wrote down "Sucking dicks" for every answer.

The last ten questions where him naming a player and us writing down what team drafted that player. We just wrote down "Dick Suckers" for every question. Oddly enough we got one right.

After trivia ended we were still waiting for our checks, so I decided to go have a chat with the trivia master. I walked up to the bar where he was gathering up some of his items and took a seat on the stool, "Hey man, can we talk?" I asked.

"Sure, wait, what is that all over your pants?" he asked me.

†I crossed my legs and presented my query, "I gotta ask you brotha," this is how I speak when talking to strangers, "What is up with all them sport questions?"

"Somebody said they wanted more sports questions," he answered

"Okay, I dig that jazz, but why where they so retarded? Like, there is a lot more to sports then awards and who got drafted to what team. You could ask about rules, champions, facts about certain players, even sports movies or TV shows. That way its still about sports, but people who aren't into sports may have a chance. Heck, you usually include a few sport questions along those terms, like when you asked what sport had long turns and short turns. Sure everybody yelled at you because there is more then one sport with those but you didn't accept all the answers, but it was a better sports question then asking what team drafted Asdrubal Cabrera."

This was around the point when the quiz master began crying. I've seen quite a few grown men cry, but it is always unnerving. At least he was wearing clothes.

"You just don't get is," the quiz master wailed, "These quizzes are tough. I use get questions from Trivial Pursuit games I bought from a garage sale but I only had Trivia Pursuit Presents 1980 and Trivial Pursuit: M.A.S.H. Edition so people started complaining that my questions where out of date and didn't acknowledge the fall of the Soviet Union so I started looking for newer questions on the side of cereal boxes or at bus stops, but there aren't even any bus stops in this town so I had to drive to Green Bay and thatís really expensive."

The quiz master at this point was leaning across the bar and draping himself on me as he cried. I was getting a lot of weird looks from the various Applebee's patrons and was worried this may sully my reputation in this town. As I attempted to push him away I said "Why don't you just use Wikipedia to get questions?"

Text Box:  Artist rendering of Wikipedia
Artist rendering of Wikipedia

"Wikipedia? You mean those† book at the library that are really big? I looked in them, they don't acknowledge the fall of the Soviet Union either"

"No, no, no," I waved my hands around wildly to make my point, "Wikipedia is a website, it has a lot of up to date information on every subject ever. It is the only thing you should need to do your job."

"I see," the quiz master stopped crying, "What you are saying is that this Wikipedia thing is exactly what I need to make trivia night top notch." Then we high fived as is customary when a problem is solved.

The next week as my team gathered, ready to eat onion rings and expand our minds, I explained what had transpired the week before. Everybody congratulated me on being the one to confront the quiz master and we were all convinced this would be the best trivia night ever.

"Hello everybody," the quiz master said into his microphone, "Tonight is a special night. A good friend of mine gave me some desperately needed help last week on how to run my trivia competition. He told me a new thing called the Wikipedia. On his advice tonight all the questions are about Wikipedia.

Question one: What is the URL for Wikipedia?"

And that was the night we decided to just start watching Jeopardy together.