Dim, dark recess

PRETTY VACANT: Hope springs eternal there’s something rattling round the memory banks during a trivia night.SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive


Nothing exposes lack of recall better than a trivia night.

Not that you fancy yourself a walking encyclopeadia, but gee, you’d figure you could remember your own name.

Round after round of questions about nothing in particular, raising serious questions about what you were doing all those years at school?

They call it memory but it’s reallyforgettery.

Stripped of mobile phones,the only internet allowed is your brain–mayday mayday.

That’s probably why they sit you in groups, so the collective unconscious can buddy up early to address the big topics, like aname for the team.

To be frank, this can gas the squad mentally, particularly after they’ve used up so much juice tryingremember their own names, let alone their teammates’.

Reassuringly it soon becomes apparent that nearly everybody at the table knows nothing about most things, but just enough about some things to get the team in the game.

Take native flowers for instance.

My heart sank when a sheet of blossoms was passed around.

A veritable Rorschach Test of weeds.

Looking at those ink blots all I could hear upstairs was“crickets”, “chirp chirp” and of course “waratah”.

It was red. A waratah is native and red. It could be a waratah.

In the absence of knowledge, there’s always hope, no matter how inaccurate, and when all is said and done (and retracted), mistakes are a part of learning.

Actually, at trivia nights, mistakes are just mistakes, which gets noted by everyone, until everyone makes one.

Then they unify the team in the knowledge that there is no Messiah/savant and it’s gonna take a group effort to maintain face. In typically indirect manners, usually.

Alarming, really, how memory can be retrieved/constructed.

Little shards of insight start appearing to questions you’d figure you’d never know the answer to ifthey didn’t get bounced around the zeitgeist.

Pole vaulter? Gold medal? Olympics? Red hair? WARATAH!!! Brothel. Steve Hooker. Bingo.

A pinball process of unreliability, but quite fun when the alternative is sitting there all night looking like a stunned mullet.

Amazing how much you can convince yourself an answer is an answer when it’s not. And interesting how the collectivefeeds off confidence, no matter how unfounded.

Confirmation bias is the enemy and thus you need your filters so the lemmings don’t go over the edge, too often.

Concepts like “the vibe” and “you got that last one right that we all got wrong so maybe we should go with you this time” really come into play.

At the end of the night, it’s hard to remember how the team got so many answers right, let alone when they should have played their “double score” round.

Next time don’t forget to go early.

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