Because of the peculiarities of this gig, I've crossed paths quite a few times over the past few years with the Geeks Who Drink, an enterprise profiled in this Westword cover story. Most often, these run-ins have taken the form of me walking in the door of some tap-shack or restaurant, seeing the Geeks overflowing the bar, and then immediately walking back out again. No offense to you trivia fans, but I generally prefer my meals (and my boozing) to come without a bunch of drunken knuckleheads shouting at each other about who wrote which episode of Seinfeld or what "spoom" means.
Still, on Sunday night I did discover that--provided one chooses the venue carefully -- a man out on his own can amuse himself quite nicely just by being near the Geeks. All it takes is the right room, the right mood and the right crowd of people who want absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that other kind of people (the kind who gamely participate in bar-room trivia contests) but who still consider themselves smart enough to play on their own. You know -- the kind of folks who would never consider trying to get on Jeopardy themselves, but who'll still sometimes tune in from the safety of their own homes just to shout the answers at Trebek and make fun of the contestants on TV who don't know the date of the battle of Waterloo.
I'm basically talking about people like me.
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Sitting in the bar at Jonesy's EatBar, I listened as the resident quizmaster (some fuzzy little fellow with a good talent for riling the rabble) walked the trivia teams through three rounds of questions next door in the main dining room. And I wasn't the only one. Virtually every two-, three- and four-top on my side of the building was quietly playing along with the game, discussing the questions amongst themselves and arguing over the answers. Even better, I watched several of the parties quietly bad-mouthing the parties at the other tables for not knowing, say, which Eurythmics song Madonna covered or which celebrity pulled down a bigger paycheck in 2008: A-Rod or Tiger Woods.
Me? I kicked private, solo ass during the Name That Song portion of the night's quiz and was barely able to restrain myself from leaning over to the table next to me and asking the very nice couple sitting there: "Really? You really didn't know that this is 'Take on Me' by Norwegian super-group a-ha? What, have you been living in a cave and shooting heroin for the past twenty years? This is not only one of the most brain-wormy songs of all time, but it also served as the basis for the GREATEST music video EVER MADE! And seriously? You? The little girl with the hooker hair and Tina Fey glasses? If you say one more time that it's ABBA, I'm going to come across this table, knock that microbrew out of your hand, go all Morten Harket and start busting this joint up like it was a comic-book panel."
So you see? Fun for everyone. But especially fun for anti-social fucktards like me. And maybe next time I see the Geeks out Drinking on a work night, I won't be so quick to turn tail and run.
Oh, and the Battle of Waterloo? June 18, 1815.