Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dig: Trivia


I love useless little morsels of information. Don't bore me with the stuff that might make a difference in the world - leave that to someone else who will do nothing with it. I will do nothing with the little stuff. I'm all about doing as little as possible and I feel a little less guilty about it if it's not really that important.

Trivia is often confused for factual information. However, presented properly, trivia quickly reveals its true useless nature. Allow me a for-instance:

Fact: Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president.
Trivia: Abraham Lincoln never put syrup on his pancakes.

See the difference? Who cares that Abe was #16? That piece of information doesn't generate more stimulating conversation. But when you spill the beans about his dislike for syrup, well now you're talking about a weighty issue! What about butter? What about waffles? Who doesn't like syrup on their pancakes? Why didn't he do something about that nasty mole on his face? See how much more interesting this is?

Here's another one for you:

Fact: Tina Louise played Ginger on Gilligan's Island.
Trivia: Tina Louise originally thought that Gilligan's Island was going to be focus on Ginger.

Everyone knows that Tina played Ginger. Not trivia. Probably not everyone knows that, despite the show being named after GILLIGAN (!), Tina thought the show would be about her. That's much more interesting. Did she mis-read the title of the show and thought it said "Ginger's Island"? Did she think that hitting on the Professor week after week would be enough to carry the show? Despite a killer bod, I just don't see it happening. And don't get me started on that slut Mary-Ann!

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.

So there you go. I dig trivia. I love knowing that U-Mich beat Stanford 49-0 in the first Rose Bowl. I love knowing that Lee Iaccoca was the guy who developed the Ford Mustang. Basically, I just dig any sentence that begins with "Did you know that...."

Here's a good one to send you on your way: Did you know that Buzz Aldrin's mother's maiden name was Moon? And now I'll be here by the water cooler waiting for the chicks to hit on me!

3 comments:

Laura said...

Edgar Allen Poe had a really bad hemorrhoid problem.

The typical greeting of Masai tribesmen is to spit at each other.

Joseph Stalin had webbed toes.

UMatt said...

Or how bout...Did you know that the Annual Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven was first developed to lure vacationing Soviets to gather in one spot at the same time so the CIA could picture and ID them for their records.

Laura said...

i linked to you on a post today- just let me know if you would like me to remove it..L