Why do we never get an answer.
When we're knocking at the door.
Jeopardy, It's Academic, Three for Free. Yes, questions and answers (or is it answers and questions?) are in my blood, and unlike most medicine, even cross my blood-brain barrier. So I was intrigued when my buddy Roger asked me if I wanted to join his team for an evening of pub trivia challenge. "It's at a dive bar," he warned, "but you will have a good time."
Now Roger and I don't always agree on what a good time is, but since the invitation coincided with a "bye" night in my Thursday tennis league, I decided to give it a try. After a tough day in the lab, I fought the construction traffic on I-90, navigated a few detours and wrong turns, and made it out to East Dundee, not far from that old family favorite, Santa's Village. Meeting up with Roger for a bar burger and a brew, he gave me the low down on what to expect. The rules, the rituals, and the characters. But even forewarned, I wasn't quite prepared.
Wandering among the tables was the Adjudicator. Sporting a monogrammed judicial robe, long silver blond hair and a well lined face, this was the master of ceremonies, giver of clues, and hurler of barbs and insults. He is also the Keeper of the Names. Every regular player eventually earns a nickname. There is Irish Mike, Ms Jeopardy, Family Doc, Thirteen, my teammates Driller and Two-Wheels, and twenty or so more players whose names I could not keep track off. As a newbie I was not officially entitled to a name, but after I earned the Adjudicator's respect with a well timed Alex Trebeck jab, I soon progressed from "PathDoc" to "Dr. No-Name", to a mutually satisfying "Dr. NO".
At 7:45 my $7 entry fee was collected, the Adjudicator mumbled a few comments and before I realized it, the contest had begun. Some questions were barked, some were whispered, all were accompanied by a never ending flow of shtick and banter. The crowd knew what to expect and how to respond, screaming out "Nine" in unison for the ninth question of each round, chanting "cities" when that word was mentioned. No Bingo caller ever had a more appreciative audience.
We played six or seven rounds of 10 questions each, some rounds centering around a specific topic (Gene Wilder movies, the Cubs), others more random. There was a "sounds" round which teammate Roger aced, and a picture round of nine public figures, each flashing their middle finger at someone. The 10th picture in this round was the appropriately named Dita Von Teese, whose curves apparently make an appearance at each night of trivia. I admit to costing my team a point during the picture round, convincing my teammates that the lady rocker in picture 8 was Linda Ronstadt, while the correct answer was Grace Slick. How could I have thought sweet Linda would be giving anyone the bird?
Despite my Ronstadt-Slick blunder, at the end of the evening the Official Scorer declared our team the champion with 69 points. Each member of the foursome raked in a cool $24. Barely enough to cover dinner and the entrance fee, but as Roger predicted, I did have fun. And $24 easily surpasses my lifetime tennis earnings...
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