Monday, December 12, 2016

Stupid Bet

On March 21, 2016, Suffolk Public Library sponsored a trivia competition at Derl'z Restaurant & Pub. Our starting squad, Paul D. Camp (Community College) Dropouts, consisted of Hoyt, Beverley, David and myself. Hoyt and I had previously been teammates on TCC (Tidewater Community College) Dropouts during Applebee's-hosted Q & A contests held throughout the prior two years. Powered by multiple platters of half-priced appetizers, our side furnished full-fledged answers and captured four redeemable $25 gift cards. Enjoying a pre-game cheeseburger and fries at Derl'z, I was confident of our chances to triumph once again. In spite of a point system which required more than one explanation to fully comprehend, we quickly adjusted and skillfully placed no lower than second after each of the six frames. Then came the "Final Jeopardy" wager. I believe the category involved naming ten presidential candidates from the past 40 years who had failed to win seats in the big chair. Because the bet was an all-or-nothing proposition, the omissions cost us silver medals that were practically around our upturned necks. Disappointingly, I explained a strategy we'd neglected to undertake. If the risk had been for zero, our sixth-round total would've sewn up second prize. The difference in the amount of "Derl'z Dollars" between silver and bronze was significant enough to shed a tear in the mug of beer. Grudgingly accepting our spot on the podium, we learned a valuable lesson and resolved to alter the attack in hopes of not repeating history.

If there were ever a night for Paul D. Camp Dropouts to tear open Reese's Pieces packets of redemption, an "80s Reload" theme on July 18, 2016, seemed like the sweet actualization of a "Weird Science" hypothesis. Hosted by The Baron's Pub and again backed by Suffolk Public Library, the Reagan/Bush-era topics would tilt heavily toward the "right" platforms of gaming consoles, athletic endeavors and eccentric entertainers. As children of the ColecoVision who were fascinated by a near-exact translation of Donkey Kong, awed by Walter Payton's eventual shuffle to a Super Bowl ring and amused at Rockwell's phony British accent, Hoyt and I would be main handlers of the pop culture-laced pigskin. Two hours before kickoff, a serious injury report was sent via modern telegram. Our dependable running back would be sidelined by an unexpected workload. This gave me a small window to find a replacement for the deeply apologetic Hoyt on the waiver wire. Desperation forced negotiations with a millennial employee of Starbucks and a baby boomer funeral director. When contract details stalled during the 11th hour, I had to assume full captaincy and break the news to Beverley and Dave. The two 1960s graduates, while not necessarily lead foots, would not be scoring many touchdowns with post-AFL rules in place. A Chuck E. Cheese's ceremonial token flip turned up rat tails and commenced game play.

First music video aired on MTV? Rap song by the Chicago Bears? LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy's record label? Arcade game inspired by M.C. Escher? Those were the soft triggers from emcee Angela Martin in the A-block. Most of the nine teams absorbed Nerf bullets and prepped themselves for harder shots. First guard in 23 years to be named NBA MVP in 1987? Electronic board game targeted to teenage girls that included paper money, credit cards and an ATM? Hank Williams, Jr. anthem which pined, "Nobody wants to get drunk and get loud/Everybody just wants to go home"? We sustained direct hits to our score sheet with erroneous replies. Board game that promised: "You do not have to be Rembrandt ... stick figures and squiggly lines will do just fine"? Beverley drew a lovely check mark with her submission. What nation boycotted the 1980 Winter Olympics after they were told to change its flag and anthem to accommodate China? David exuberantly torched the cauldron and maintained our lead. SEC running back who was MVP of the 1983 Sugar Bowl, 1984 Liberty Bowl and 1986 Cotton Bowl? British band who sang "Ghost Town" and appeared on the soundtrack of 1984's "Sixteen Candles"? Gunther knew the footballer and thought he was special by being the only contestant to blow out the fiery cake in one puff. Going into the betting phase, Paul D. Camp Dropouts and Thundercats Are Go! stood apart from the other seven rosters. Would our minimal edge in regulation be enough to bite into a Baron Burger-shaped award?

With the song "Break It Up" in 1987, what Olympic track star leaped into the world of music videos wearing only a very tight spandex workout suit? Hint: In the 1990s, he butchered "The Star-Spangled Banner" at an NBA game. I'll never forget Charley Steiner's fit of uncontrollable laughter when reacting to the interpretation on ESPN. ("Written by Francis Scott Off-Key," indeed!) Both major contenders passed their batons to Angela and awaited the final tallies. Because of an inexplicable blunder where I risked only 18 or so chips, we pulled up lame just before being the first team to break the tape. Thundercats Are Go! doubled their dowry and captured the championship in come-from-behind fashion. "YOU SHOULD HAVE BET IT ALL!" Angela bellowed at me. I'm almost certain Hoyt would've joined her in the coarse chorus. This choke job gripped far tighter than the earlier mishap at Derl'z. I should've never assumed that our primary challenger's sports knowledge wasn't up to snuff. The John McEnroe in me wanted to rip our $10 runner-up certificate in 10,000 pieces and scatter the shavings across Howard Mast Tennis Center's weather-beaten courts. However, a Stefan Edberg-esque transformation took hold and I calmly exchanged warm thoughts with organizers and opponents alike. Carelessness aside, the "80s Reload" was yet another tremendous happening from the Suffolk Public Library's out-and-about itinerary.

Beverley and I finished in fifth-place at the Pub Trivia Night's Horror Edition on October 24, 2016. The Droogs dominated the proceedings and collected $25 from Derl'z. After the slaughter, Brandon and Henry offered us their meal ticket. Were we stupid enough to kindly decline the undeserved prize? Don't bet on it.

1 comment:

  1. Bet it all! Figure it's a night out, filled with friends and fun. Even if you lose the game, it was still a fun night because it's only a game. It's the friendship and laughter that really count in the grand scheme of life, and a good meal to go with it makes it even better! Great post.