Nothing Trivial About This

I’ve had better weeks, thank you, but I did vow to keep my personal bitching to a minimum.  I developed a separate site for such content, and moved a great deal of what used to be contained here over there.  This morning, I was prompted to pour out my frustration by a series of events that occurred on top of the few communications I did receive this week, which were mostly legal threats and “sorry, not moving forward with your application” autobot responses.  For those of you so inclined, I would ask that you perhaps consider reading today’s AISLE OF WIT, and note that the link that has often been found at the bottom of many posts here has now been embedded there.

But this is not about problems.  It is about a solution, albeit a small and fleeting one. It had been planned for months, but a variety of miscommunications and tight schedules got in the way.  For others, thank you.  My dance card has been wide open.

And considering how the rest of the world seems to be feeling, between everyone I know with personal ties to Israel, actors and sympatico writers still braving summer-like heat to picket the studios that continue to claim they’re not hiring and yes, more than a handful of syncophants who believe the next wave of coronavirus is right around the corner and are retreating back into their cocoons like bears preparing to hibernate for the winter, KN95s broken out like fall fashion, let’s just say that getting out for once was a godsend.

It was just a neighborhood trivia night at a local Irish pub.  Nothing on the level of what occurs not too far away, where former JEOPARDY! champions imbibe and compete.  This was a far younger crowd for the most part, including my friend’s recently graduated son and his buddy on fall break (didn’t know they had those!) from his school.  And at least according to Christine Barba of THE DAILY MEAL, a West Coast iteration of what she has observed has become much more popular than the crowd I typically interact with would admit to, and even more than I had thought:

Pub trivia supposedly dates back to the 1970s in the U.K. While these events were limited at first, Sharon Burns and Tom Porter kicked off this trend after starting more than 30 pub quiz teams in southern England. Eventually, the pair gathered 10,000 teams every week in a season. The BBC even began filming the quiz events. Bar trivia entered the U.S. scene in the 1980s, following the U.K.’s trend and well-known trivia games and shows launched around the same era. Even in the 1980s, most bars hosted weekday events as a marketing strategy for when the bar was typically slower. During the past few years, bar trivia appears to be sprouting up again at bars everywhere you turn. Why? 

During the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant industry is believed to have lost $120 billion as of June 2020. Many bar owners struggled to make a comeback after the height of the pandemic. From staffing issues to rising costs and changes in consumer perceptions about dining out, many restaurants have grappled with just how to revive their customer base. But when finding an effective strategy for bringing in crowds and increasing profits, bar trivia nights may provide the answer. 

Megan Fitzgerald, who is in charge of branding at Talea Beer Co. in Brooklyn, told CNBC that while she thought only a few customers would come to the bar’s first trivia night, nearly 70 customers participated. “[Customers] want something that’s enriching and engaging and is more than just taking shots or slamming beers,” she said. “Trivia is easy and fun, good for big groups or couples, and you can find it usually just down the block.” According to CNBC, The NYC Trivia League hosts events at more than 100 spots in NYC, including the bar where Fitzgerald works. She said that on trivia nights, the bar doubled its Wednesday profits, excluding evenings that offer special events.

So I turned this small group into a quartet, and I’m told we were more competitive than they had been without me.  We finished out of the Top 10, and well out of the money, but we didn’t finish last. And I took particular pride in answering one TV question about which animated show had been sponsored by Winston cigarettes and One-A-Day vitamins?

Oh. come on, you knew it, too!

Well, maybe YOU did.  But my colleagues didn’t.  And not a lot of others did, either.

After a week like I had, it was REALLY nice to feel good and contributing, even to something as inconsequential as this.  To be around healthy, energetic, smiling attractive people.  And, bless it, not a single mask in sight.

Thank goodness, no one smoking Winstons, either.

A lot’s changed since I was last at a trivia night.  A lot’s changed since I was last in a bar with friends.

Thanks so very much for those who at least allowed me to feel like a human being again for a few hours.

Until next time…


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