Trivia abounds in our little world. Song lyrics, movie or TV lines, dates in history and gobs and gobs of it in the sports world. All beautifully useless! Name the last three Americans to win the Tour de France. Who was known as the Desert Fox? What movie is "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" from? You, too, can be that annoying guy at the water cooler (do offices still have water coolers?) with all the chicks hanging off of you because you know who Erwin Rommel is. See how trivia can change your life?!
Count the number of trivial pieces of information in this sentence: "U2's 'Pride' was written about Martin Luther King who was shot on April 4 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis after MLK visited some union garbagemen who were on strike." The correct answer is 857. Is that what you got? You didn't? What kind of dumb-ass are you?! Again, on the surface, this is just a bunch of facts strung together, but when I call you a dumb-ass for not knowing all of them, it becomes trivia and makes you want to punch me in the nose. Regular facts don't cause normally passive people to strike out against others. It's only when useless information is presented in a smart-ass fashion does violence break out. And isn't there a lesson to be learned there, George W. Bush? And, just like the topic of Mary-Ann, don't get me started on labor unions....
I have to admit, though, that the sports trivia can get to be a little much. I was watching some lame sports trivia game show on TV the other day and these dudes knew everything about everything! It's one thing to get all jazzed up about a particular mainstream sport, but when you're rattling off the scores in the semi-final matches of the badminton world championships of 1964, there is no doubt that you also live in your mother's basement and sleep in pajamas with feet in them. How about if you focus all your brain power on curing cancer or something instead of being the mayor of nerd-ville?
One of the beautiful things about trivia is that there is a pretty good chance that the little factoid is complete bullshit. If you want to waste your time checking out Abe's breakfast condiment preferences, you go right ahead. In the meantime, I'll be over here hitting on your girlfriend. Same with Ginger - who cares if it's true?! The more inane (trivial, you might say) the snippet of info, the better! For example, did you know that a mouse's weight is equal to the square root of the length of it's tail? If you want to challenge me, just get out your little ruler and find yourself a mouse and ask him/her to hold still while you measure and weigh him. All I have to do is say I read it (or wrote it, whatever) on the internet and it instantly becomes legit. I have one word for you: Wikipedia. Who checks on that stuff? If I added some lies to an obscure enough entry, it will be spread around the world as fact in no time. Here's one for you: Jared (that irritating guy from Subway) used to be a woman. The next person who reads that in Wikipedia will be asking him to be the spokesman/woman for the Transsexual Times because it MUST be true if it's in Wikipedia!
Along with presenting trivia to your unsuspecting friends comes a certain amount of smugness. It doesn't matter to me if you aren't interested in my useless piece of information - I just like to feel superior knowing something that you don't. Did you know that Elvis had a twin brother who died at birth? You didn't? How can you not know that? What kind of dumb-ass are you? See how great that is! I feel better about myself already! I'm sure all my friends think that my brain must be running at about 113 % capacity even though they say that we usually only use 10%. They probably all think that my superior intelligence is due to my second toe being longer than my first toe. Which, of course, is completely true because I read about it in Wikipedia.