Table quizzing

The gentle art of passive aggression in a good cause

So anyway, there you are at the table quiz in aid of that really worthwhile cause that you never heard of until you walked through the door but your mate has asked you to make up the fourth place in the team so there you are, get over it, pay your fiver, get a pint, shut up and sit down.

Narrow your eyes and glance around peevishly. Try to identify that team of teachers who go to all these things just to win the prizes. Professionals, you hiss, because of course, your crowd aren’t here to win at all. They’re here for the fun. Right? Right. Good luck with that.

You buy the tickets for the spot prizes because, well, it’s all in aid of that good cause that you never heard of until you walked through the door, but you don’t really want any of the prizes so generously donated by local businesses. But of course you do, but of course you never win any raffles anyway, except that time you won a Crunchie in school when you were nine and three quarters.

And then, after they fix the feedback and the howl on the speakers, they’re off with an easy round just to get everyone warmed up, and your people are saying What? What’s this easy round shit? And everyone agrees they should all be hard. They should be so hard nobody gets a full score.

There you are and all the tables are on top points, so they might as well not have bothered with that round at all and you’re wondering if the next one will be just as hard. What is your name? Is the sky up or down? Who’s your favourite Big Brother celebrity?

But no, the second round has a couple of sticky ones. The annoying questions like Who scored Japan’s winning try against South Africa? and there you are, banging your face against the wall, because you know, you just know this, or at least you did when you were watching the world cup but that was long ago and now you are here in this pub trying to remember the name of a guy you didn’t know in the first place. And of course, you can’t. They might as well be asking you to name the designer of the Soyuz rocket.

But the teachers will know it. And everyone glances around again to glare at the man with a neat beard and a v-necked pullover.

Over there, the team from the newspaper are looking at a smart phone. Bad form, you fume. Just not cricket.

You missed two in that round and even though it’s only the beginning, you realise as seasoned quiz veterans that your chances of winning are scuppered. Forget it. You won’t make up a two-point difference in a quiz where they have easy rounds just to make everyone feel included. And so, instead, you opt for levity and more pints and a bit of banter and some absurd chat about time travel in the movies. Maguffins. Internal consistency. The odd probity of tricycles.

It’s half time. They hold the draw and Jesus Christ, you win a €40 voucher for lunch in a nice restaurant, continuing the gastronomic theme that started with a Crunchie all those years ago. And then someone else wins a fuel voucher from a filling station. And then another compadre wins a bottle of bubbly. And finally, the non-drinker collects a bottle of wine.

You won’t win the quiz, that’s for sure. You’re two points behind the leaders and there’s every chance you’ll slip a bit more when the disastrous round comes along, the one where you know nothing, but at least you have a moral victory. Everyone will be walking out of here tonight with some kind of prey to bring home to their cave.

Get another beer. Who’s keeping score? What did we have for the Eurovision question? Are you sure? Shit, we’re down another point.

In the end, you come third, with the mild schadenfreude satisfaction that the man with the v-neck and the beard did even worse and that the local newspaper crowd skulked out long before they announced the results.

Inevitably, the time for table-quiz recriminations will come as it always does, but for now, you enjoy the fact that everyone leaves with a prize and you didn’t do too badly, even though secretly you know you made a complete shit of it.

If only someone could have remembered the name of Rihanna’s first big hit.





2 thoughts on “Table quizzing

  1. The last table quiz I went to had far too many questions about the GAA. It does bring out the competitive nature of your teammates. Many friendships have been shattered over a table quiz.

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