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National Editorials & Columns

Trivia Night

I hate trivia. I would rather carry on a conversation with some bro about perfecting the application of Axe body spray than publicly expose my idiocy all in the name of competitive camaraderie. But this time, trivia night was my idea.

Recently, my high-school foursome of friends connected over Facebook. It had been years since we all had seen one another — or even spoken, really — and we were looking to rectify that. A few months and airplane trips later, two of my girls were within an hour’s drive of my house, wondering where we could go for a mini reunion on a Tuesday night.

I texted them the address of a tiny South African dive bar that serves savory samosas and has Shock Top on tap. I blamed my postpartum post-partying lifestyle for being unable to direct this reunion to a more hoppin’ locale. But in truth, trivia night sounded like a fun way to keep conversation going if our group banter lulled from lack of practice over the years.

The trivia announcer asked the first question.

Name the nightclub Zack Morris got a fake ID to sneak into.

My friends and I looked at one another, stumped. If there is one thing we should know everything about, it’s “Saved by the Bell.” The night was off to a bad start.

Before we knew it, we were negative points.

`”Zoe should be here,” my friend said as we clinked glasses. “She’d have known the answer.”

The final member of our foursome was missing. Zoe was across the country, getting acquainted with her newborn baby. When talk of a reunion began, Zoe had been oddly noncommittal. It was after another couple of months, when she announced that she was in her second trimester, that we understood why.

Who was Peter Gabriel’s song “In Your Eyes” written about?

Negative 10 points.

I looked around the table at the matured faces of my old friends. We were at such different places in our lives, our relationships, our education, our careers, our child rearing. In a way, it felt almost fitting Zoe was missing the reunion. Even back in high school, the four of us had seemed to exist on vastly different planes, somehow colliding in Zoe’s basement.

What is Clippers coach Doc Rivers’ first name?

Negative 40 points.

“Do you remember the list we made at senior beach week of where we thought each of us would be in 10 years?” my friend asked, toasting us for the fourth time.

“Oh, yeah,” responded my other friend. “Wasn’t one of us supposed to be dead in a ditch somewhere by now?”

“That was me, you jerks,” I reminded them. And they laughed.

“I’m sure we had a good reason. Starving artist or something. Who kept the list?”

It was Zoe, of course.

What is the name of a baby turkey?

We were down 60 points when we decided to text Zoe.

It was past 2 a.m. on the East Coast, but we told ourselves that she would be awake with her newborn, that she would be happy to hear from us. But when we looked her up in our contact lists, among the three of us, we had four different phone numbers for Zoe.

“Text ‘em all!” my friend said as we clinked our glasses for the seventh time.

So we did. We texted her messages I imagine we would have sent one another at 16 if there were such a thing back then. We sent guilt texts. Profane texts. Silly texts. Perverted texts. We texted the four different numbers, knowing full well that we had lost sight of one another so drastically that we did not know which number was hers. We texted, knowing that perhaps none was still hers.

It was midnight. I had work the next day and a sleeping baby to get home to. And two hours into the game, we hadn’t gotten a single trivia question right. I considered calling it a night.

But then...

In which month do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving?

“October!” we all yelled out. Zoe was from Canada, and we had spent Canadian Thanksgivings at her house. For a moment, it felt as if Zoe were there with us.

We were still down 50 points and one friend, but our trivia night reunion felt good — better than those on the receiving end of our mis-sent texts, I’m sure.

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