No subject is too trivial
this weekend at Lawrence
Post-Crescent staff writer
Pickett, for one weekend the king of all things trivial.
Lawrence University senior will preside over the 36th annual
student-run Midwest Trivia Contest Friday through Sunday.
grand master will lead a team of 10 other LU students, dubbed trivia
masters, who will oversee the chaos of trivia weekend as it's
broadcast on the campus radio station, WLFM-FM 91.1.
always in a trivia mode," Pickett said. "It gets more intense in the
last month or two."
Trivia masters are each assigned the task
of coming up with 75 questions and answers, the more obscure the
better. Those are narrowed down to 350 questions to be used in the
"The night before Trivia Weekend starts, we meet in
a secret room far, far away from society to come up with a purified
core group of questions," Pickett said.
For three days,
trivia is the center of the universe for those who organize the
contest and the hundreds who play.
The best estimates suggest
there are about 400 off-campus players and another 100 on-campus
players. They are all in pursuit of trivial prizes that in the past
have ranged from used bed mattresses to toilet plungers to squirrel
pelts to packages of Ramen noodles.
Pickett was not willing
to discuss this year's prizes.
"Of course they're secret," he
said. 'We've got some good ones; horribly good."
Pickett disturbed the traditional time trivia weekend takes place
(it's one week earlier), he still recognizes the importance of
tradition to the scores of trivia teams tuning in this
"We're trying to keep a lot of traditions going,"
said the 23-year-old trombone-playing grand master.
contest gets off to a traditional start at 10 p.m. Friday with the
reading of last year's Super Garruda question by Lawrence President
Richard Warch. (The answer is "Puppy" by Jeff Koons.) "We're also
keeping many of the Hours," Pickett said, mentioning the return of
the popular Death and Destruction Hour, the Mean Hour ("That's one
of our favorites," he said), the Stoopid Hour, the Risque Sex Hour
("It got a lot of approval last year," Pickett said. "We try to do
it when kids are asleep."), the Physics Hour and the Girl Hour
presented by two female trivia masters.
operate in shifts, taking turns answering phones, giving questions
on air or working the dreaded complaint line.
"Every now and
then we'll get a question that's contested," Pickett said. "We
generally take the attitude of whoever's calling." That is to say,
if you are a screaming moron on the complaint line, the person on
the other end at Trivia Central will also be a screaming
Pickett, in his fourth year of involvement in the
contest, said he will continue participating as a contestant when he
enters the real world as a band teacher ("Hopefully in the area," he
"I will definitely play," he said. "I will try to play
as many years as I can. I love trivia and I want to support it for
as long as I can."
He stops to consider for a moment that
this is his last year behind the scenes of the venerable trivia
Is that a tear rolling down his
"Basically, the rest of my life will be a downhill
ride from here," he said.
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