Suzanne Tobias

What I don’t know about trivia can fill an app

I started playing Trivia Crack because all the kids are doing it, and also because I guess my life seemed to be lacking that little something that would launch me from borderline intellectually insecure to all-out inferior.

“Jack!” I called from the kitchen. “What country does not border China? Hong Kong, Laos, Myanmar or Thailand?”

“I’m not sure,” he replied. “Thailand?”

I selected Myanmar. The correct answer was Thailand.

Not long after that, I landed on geography again and got another question about China: “Yellow River, Red River, Blue River or Green River?” I read aloud.

“Yellow River,” my daughter, Hannah, offered matter-of-factly, just as my finger touched Red River and got – you guessed it – the wrong answer.

I didn’t know that Taiwan is known as Formosa Island.

I couldn’t remember that “Gravity” won more Academy Awards in 2014 than “12 Years a Slave.”

I didn’t know the name of Japan’s “Cat Island.” (Tashirojima.)

I couldn’t recognize the Syrian flag.

I didn’t know Anne McCaffrey was the first female author to win the Hugo Award.

I didn’t know that King Henry VIII didn’t have grandchildren.

I didn’t even know which year Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” was released, and I’ve been a Madonna fan since “Holiday.” I could have sworn it was 1990, but lo and behold, it was 1989.

As Charlie Brown would say – and seriously, why can’t I get some Peanuts questions? – AAAARGH!

My husband and kids laugh at my perpetual frustration over this game. Jack, 14, beat me handily in our first battle and frankly, I’m scared to challenge him again.

Random trivia is not my strength. But I’m able to answer just enough questions correctly to believe, ever so briefly, that I know a few things. Sometimes I even feel smart.

I knew Ferrari is the Formula 1 racing team with the most Constructor’s Championships.

I knew the kitchen gadget that generates an electromagnetic field with a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz is a microwave oven.

I knew the chemical symbol for silver is Ag.

I knew Airbus is headquartered in France.

I knew Anne Frank wrote “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Sure, that last one was a gimme. But the gimmes give me hope and the will to spin that wheel again, and the vicious cycle continues. They don’t call it Trivia Crack for nothing.

Yes! I know this! Kentucky is the Bluegrass State!

Oooh! I know this one, too! A perfect score in bowling is 300!

Oh! And this one! Darth Vader’s daughter is Princess Leia!

Bwaaa-haa-haa! I AM A GENIUS!

And then, Russian history. Or something about boxing. Or the fact that hodophobia is the fear of traveling. (I should get partial points, I think, for recognizing they misspelled traveling in that answer.)

I have decades of experience with trivia frustration. My brother David has been whooping me in Trivial Pursuit since the mid-1980s. The last time we got together his oldest son, Gregory, beat me as well. I dominate a few key categories, including dog breeds and Broadway show tunes, but they’re rarely enough to earn me the requisite slices of pie.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love games, I love playing with my children, and I long ago vowed never to purposely lose to protect their fragile egos. Now they’re older and wiser – introducing me to the wonder of Trivia Crack and beating me regularly.

I like to think I taught them well.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.