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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

Trivia knowledge is 'Googled' away

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Once upon a time, I considered myself a fairly good trivia expert. For some odd reason, I have decent recall of trivial bits of flotsam and jetsam from music, sports, entertainment, history, etc.

I clearly don't fall in the "expert" category but on occasion, I even amaze myself with recall of factoids that have no significance whatsoever. In short, it's a fairly useless "talent" for lack of a better word.

Back in the day - my college years specifically - I had a wisenheimer roommate who also collected fragments of trivia in his warped mind. He and I would spend far too many hours trying to stump one another with absolutely useless information on a range of topics. He was much better than I.

Recently, I was browsing through the television channels and came upon an old western movie which featured a long-forgotten star well past his prime. The face was familiar but his name eluded me.

And instantly, in kicked my trivia obsession.

For what seemed like hours - probably closer to 15 minutes - I finally found the key to unlock the mystery and, to my great surprise, I remembered the star's name somewhere deep within the recesses of my limited brain.

But just to confirm that my answer was correct, I waited another 15 minutes for the movie credits. Alas, either I missed them or they were omitted. Either way, I had no confirmation that my trivia answer was correct.

Enter Google.

Yes, I ventured to my laptop and "Googled" the actor's name and staring from my computer screen was the star I had recalled. I got the answer correct but somehow felt uneasy that there was such a handy instrument to answers those questions I could not recall.

The Internet has replaced my memory with much greater accuracy and speed. But it still left me with an empty feeling.

I fully recognize the merits of this amazing Internet age, though my skills are extremely limited. Those nagging questions that may have stumped you in the past are now but a click away.

My trivia days are surely numbered. I have clearly been replaced with a much better version.

And somewhere in the deep South is a fraternity brother probably mourning our heydays of intellectual battle. Both he and I have lost the war to a gadget named Google.

Go figure!

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen