Saturday, 8 October 2016

The worst quiz in the world!

We did a morning's work and then drove up to Thaxted, where we spent the afternoon drinking tea and eating cake. It was a chocolate cake. My Mum was sporting a burn on her neck. How did she burn her neck, I hear you ask? Answer: by "listening" to the cake as she took it out of the oven to see if it was baked... How else?

We went to a quiz this evening with Helen. Our team brought the average age of the room down by about fifty percent. Looking behind us was like witnessing something from the film Cocoon. There was more than a whiff of pear drops and lavender soap hanging in the air.

It was, without question, the most stressful quiz I've ever been to! We weren't allowed to sit around tables, and were told instead to sit in rows. Half of our team was ushered to the row in front.

The quiz took place on an overhead projector. Every round was a visual round, which was actually a lot of fun, but as the quiz went on, and the time ticked by, it got faster and faster, and, as a result, more and more confusing. 

The quiz master was a woman with a stentorian voice who was being assisted by her husband and parents. As the quiz developed, her face got redder and redder, and she kept ringing an incredibly loud hand bell to get the attention of the room. She was obsessed with the notion of us all "having fun." Before the quiz started, she came up to me and said, "I understand you're a professional quiz team? Well you're not to be too clever today. You're to have fun instead." We're not a professional team. Not in the slightest. I have no idea what gave her that impression. As the photographs flashed past on the screen, at ever-increasing speed, she'd say, "we're going faster, because it's fun." We could smell the fear in the room. Several old people wet themselves and we could hear the sounds of false teeth falling out and replacement hips clicking.

I placed a bet that the quiz master would have a total melt down by 8.45pm, and sure enough, right on the button, she started ringing her bell like a loon, and shouting aggressively, "a lot of people seem to not be understanding rules of this quiz, so it's CLEARLY my fault."

She kept shouting at her "mummy" who was staggering around the room collecting papers and seemingly getting more and more squiffy. "Come on, Mummy. You're ahead of yourself, Mummy... These people need to have FUN, Mummy!"

Daddy didn't seem to know what was going on, either, and kept standing in front of the light of the overhead projector, casting a black shadow which covered the entire screen, whilst shouting "I can't see... it's too bright."

When she gave us the answers, a considerable number were wrong. She mistakenly told us, for example, that the most recent Year of the Dragon had been 2016 (rather than 2012, which was the correct answer.) When I piped up to let her know, she said "oh, it doesn't matter, it's all fun." "Will we get the point?" I asked. "No," she said, smiling sweetly. Fun, fun, fun...

Whilst giving the answers, she kept saying, in a rather chipper voice, "now put your hands up if you got that right..." But every time Nathan put his hand up, she'd say, "oh YOU again. You're just a show off!"

Helen turned to me at one point and whispered, "this is fraught - my nerves are all a-jangle."

We won. The room booed because the rumour had gone around that we were a professional team. We gave our prizes (or what Helen hysterically described as "presents") to the losing team, who'd sat behind us, copied all our answers, but somehow managed to score more than 100 points fewer than us. At every opportunity they'd moan, point at us, and say, "they've got eight on their team..." We weren't breaking any rules. We were allowed to have teams of eight!

Despite all this, and probably because of it, I laughed almost continually through the evening. Despite the fact that being told to have fun is one of the most stressful things in the world, I had the most fabulous time.

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