How to be a complete idiot?

Last Friday night, I felt like a complete idiot on a quiz night.

My colleagues organised the quiz night in a community hall. A lot of local residents were keen players. About 60 people took part.

I told my colleagues that I’d be hopeless at a quiz night. I told them that I lack understanding of a lot of trivial facts in this country. They thought I was joking.

On the night, there were about 150 questions.  I only got 2 rights. What’s 1/8 in percentage? What’s Formosa now known as?

I felt very frustrated half way through the quiz. It’s like listening to a foreign language the whole night: I could hear every singer word, but the words meant nothing to me. 

Some trivial questions come from soap opera Eastenders, some very old singers, football and some minor geographic facts. Knowing the answers to these questions won’t improve my quality of life, nor my happiness, but it may make me a more interesting person.

I enjoyed the company of my colleagues. We had good conversations. But when we started spending the whole night working through those questions, I felt more and more sleepy. I wish I had stayed at home on a Friday night.

Doing quizzes is part of the British culture, so ingrained in the British psyche. I enjoyed certain crosswords in the newspapers, but this kind of quiz night asks a variety of topics of no significance to me, and as I was very tired on a Friday night, I felt wound up by these questions.

I took a set of questions home. These are the most interesting ones on the night. You have to find answers on all kinds of food and drink from the clues given.

I won’t give out the answers, as some of you may want to try out. My score: Zero.

For example: Mrs Blairs object of inconsequence. Answer: Sherry Trifle.

1) Adams Ale

2) A very warm pan from the red rose county.

3) Little brother precedes large sheep dog.

4) Filled escorts from thecalendar.

5) Brand new, but nonsense, as scrooge would say.

6) Will the love apple overtake those ahead.

7) Murder by milk or plain.

8) Sheep herdsman’s pastry.

9) Cold meal from this New York Hotel.

10) Napping Fish.

11) Money leads two points with  these metal fasteners.

12) How to start the race.

20 thoughts on “How to be a complete idiot?

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      I’m totally lost with questions with western food. Next time if I set some questions, I’ll ask them about Chinese dimsum and the differences of Chinese ‘dumplings’ or how to cook chicken feet.

  1. ShimonZ

    We all have different interests, but when it comes to appreciating a foreign or an adopted culture, often we don’t realize just how much we don’t know. Especially when it comes to the English who have much restraint and an appreciative attitude towards the stranger. I would treasure such an evening, because it gave you a taste of many of the subtleties of the English culture., including their dry humor.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Thank you, Shimon. I still find a lot of subtleties in this country that I don’t know of. I still don’t understand a lot of jokes, or in-jokes. Sometimes I do get embarrassed for asking people to explain. I’m surprised my husband hasn’t divorced me yet.

  2. anexactinglife

    My spouse is from the UK and compared to many Canadians, I am quite familiar with British books, music and food. But whenever I visit his family, I realize how much I don’t know, especially television, geography, politics and football! Sometimes when I watch TV there, I can’t follow it, either because of the pop culture references, or the regional accents and slang.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      It was fun to meet some people from the community. I observed that people who attended the quiz night had certain face and characteristics. They seemed to wear a certain type of clothes. Watching people was fun.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Six! That was a lot. When I asked my husband these questions, he knew most of the answers. A lot of my friends told me that you just have to ‘get used to’ this type of quizzes, and there’re some rules involved.

  3. marshland

    Hot pot and St Bernard but, 150 questions? We sometimes go to a pub quiz, we went with the neighbours, Combined we got 21 out of 25, Astrid got 4 or 5, the neighbours only got 7 out of 25. I always remember one pub, the landlord had a really loud voice so he didn’y use s microphone, he just wandered round the pub yelling the questions. He wasn’t really well educated and once walked round the pub yelling “The Chuh Ha Hoo Ha dog comes from which county?” There were shouts of “Devon” “Cornwall” and “Chuh ha bloody what?” We used to do the quiz with David Blunkett, the blind MP, we had a good laugh that night.
    Sorry I don’t visit your blog as often as I should, it’s really honest and down to earth diary, totally refreshing. When our phone lines are repaired we’ll get a more reliable connection maybe I will visit once or twice a week.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      The quizzes we got covered many topics. Some included finding out Who’s Who from very badly printed black and white pictures. We started from 7.30 and ended after 10pm, including a simple ploughman’s meal. Actually we must have answered 200 questions. I could answer this question, “Where’s Bee Gees from?” But I couldn’t answer this question, “What’s the postcode of Eastenders?”

      Thank you for your visits. I wish you all the best with your phone lines — it can take months for a landline fixed sometimes. You have a lot of new images on your website (background images). You’ve done a lot of travelling and bird-watching.

  4. Colline

    I would be in the same boat as you. Many of these questions make the assumption that the participants grew up in Britain and would known its everyday culture.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Exactly. I don’t have the advantage of knowing some answers, as some of them are so culturally specific to the natives. It was a wonderful night to feel like a complete idiot though. I had great company.

  5. SchmidleysScribbling

    Oh Janet, you are young and smart and I am old and worn. I can’t download your ebook. Why not create a nice post showing all the photos of you with Tilly Bud. I hope to visit her and that way I would know which fab shelter to see. Dianne

  6. Pingback: My Site Table of Contents – I did it! | Janet's Notebook

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