Trivial Pursuits

Those of us who decide that college is where we will find out what we want to do with our lives must make sacrifices—mostly monetary. This leads to inventive evenings where the game is to see how little money you can spend.

So I found myself with my best friend on a Saturday evening, spent mentally and physically from boisterous friends and the bar scene and spent economically from footing the bill.

Following two nights of action and dizzying arrays found only in Alaska, we decided to match wits with two lovely ladies at trivial Pursuit.

The game quickly took a turn for the worse. 30-minutes dragged into four hours, tempers flared and my normally congenial best friend sunk into despair over plastic pieces of Pursuit pie.

“Common sense is a key when you play Trivial Pursuit but you have to recognize the play on words and use your high school education,” he said after careful reflection. “If you were a go-getter in high school you already know all of the answers,” he said then trailed off to thoughts of nonsense and spite.

And he won.

I, on the other hand, am studying to be a sports journalist. Sports itself is not a category in Trivial Pursuit but is coupled with leisure. I was asked to give the correct Coca-Cola product advertised in 1971 as having only one calorie, to which I answered self-assuredly, “Diet Coke.” Obviously I was not up on my pop culture from a forgotten decade as the correct answer was “Tab.” Not once did I get a Sports & Leisure question right answering Don Drysdale questions with Sandy Koufax and misidentifying the names of many sports figures in their respective Halls of Fame.

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It was not all a wash as the history and art questions were prime pickings.

The girls however were at once correcting our every miscue.

Kira, a mechanical engineering major at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was so taken by the experience she was left wondering why the rest of us were gliding along while she was getting questions about Egypt and Israel on each turn.

Her roommate, Lee, fared no better. An hour into the game the strains of extended thinking were taking a toll. With her memory lapsing she was regularly shaken awake and prodded to roll the dice.

The girls were ahead of me when the sun began to rise, if it ever had set. We called the game and my despairing friend was declared the winner, as he was only one pie slice short of victory. I had three, none from Sports & Leisure, forcing me to reread Joe Morgan's “Baseball for Dummies.”

The girls had collected four each as Lee rallied back to consciousness. Kira was quite chipper after the match bounding out of my garage like the evening had just started.

As the group was leaving I could not help but to think that going to an institution of higher learning and taking such moribund classes as Introduction to Literature and Music Appreciation had done nothing for me.

"Dude, be real,” said my victorious friend, “if we had paid attention in class instead of groaning about general requirements and prerequisites we would have finished in a couple hours.

He was right.

At UAA those who are serious about their education are reaping the benefits while students like myself focus only on the major, tend to slack off on the general education checklist and are left to a future where a relaxing evening with friends and a board game becomes difficult.

It has taken me three and a half years—seven semesters—to figure that out. What I know for sure is that Trivial Pursuit is now on my board game blacklist as are Pictionary and Monopoly.

But the Alaska summer is short, the nights are long and everybody needs a challenge.