Yackety Sax played backwards
I've come to realise that the days of loud music, screaming at the top of my lungs, expensive drinks and and hanging out with heaps of other hot and sweaty people in my teens and twenties is eerily similar to being forty and attending Sapphire's school fund-raiser Trivia Night.
Trouble is, it's us that have to perform. We've paid our fifteen bucks a head, brought along our cheese, fruit and dip platters and surveyed the other tables of eager parents, ring-ins and quiz buffs, wondering just who we'll be prepared to chat up during the scoring break. Love Chunks cracks his knuckles in preparation; Marilyn sips her red wine, Dom and Abby are busy hushing beautiful baby Maya, John is nervously scoffing peanuts, Jackie is examining the 'mystery faces' sheet, I'm surreptitiously trying to reach for the M&Ms instead of the strawberries and Helen has got her Game. Face. ON.
We're two people short on our table, and an intense discussion immediately commences on 'phoning friends'. Do we do it? Do we, as responsible, mature and reasonably moral parents, stoop to SMS-ing the internet or brainier mates at home for the answers? We've got three lawyers on our table and decide that they've got enough negative baggage to overcome without the accusations of snakey game tactics.
Instead, we do what most other parents, out on a rare Saturday night unencumbered with kids (except Dom and Abby, who have one out of three still with them) do, and reach for the drinks. It's only the Silent Auction at this stage ("Who for the love of Lemon Lycra Leggings is going to publicly bid for the book titled 'How to help your child overcome learning difficulties'?") but we're already screaming to make ourselves heard. Acoustics in ageing community halls with saggy ceiling tiles that still snag the detritus of tired Christmas tinsel only make the sound louder.
Round one - General Knowledge. Turns out we don't have much.
Round two - Science. Who knew that chlorine is the largest element found in sea water? We didn't.
Round three - Telly. I'm not too proud to admit that I stood up, did a Lleyton Hewitt fist-pump and yelled, "Yessssss" when it was 'Yackety Sax', the theme for the chick-chase scenes at the end of the Benny Hill Show, that had been played backwards.
Round Four. Still seemed to be telly. Poor, tired, father-of-three, trying to help Abby with the baby, Dom. He tried, oh-so kindly and quietly over the chaos and food-guzzling table of tenacious triviers, to say, "It sounds like the theme to 'The Dukes of Hazzard'," but his shame at even knowing that kind of thing prevented him from pushing the point. As he changed a nappy near the fire exit door, we insisted on it being 'Honky Tonky Woman' and lost.
Round Five. Music. Not too shabby, we got Berry Gordy as the founder of Motown but didn't get Hells Bells by ACDC. We felt a combination of happy, sad and tipsy.
John tried to feed himself grapes and missed his mouth each time. Helen and Jackie were yelling at each other like sisters as they grappled with the challenge of writing down neat answers, Marilyn developed a pathological hatred for the two comperes and Abby looked resigned to spending her hard-won evening with a table of snack-guzzling know-nothings who were loudly debating whether bidding for karate classes at a suburb 40 kilometres away on a weeknight was a good idea for a six year old......
Round Six. Sport. All eyes were on my husband of many years, dear, sweet Love Chunks. I was shoving mixed handfuls of salted pumpkin seeds and M&Ms into my gob, knowing I had nothing to contribute other than a satisfied silence. I was glad too, that LC was busy trying to remember who won the Brownlow medal in 2003 and didn't take note of the Cholesterol-straining volume of chocolate that was being inhaled by the woman seated next to him. Alas, it was Dom who starred: Don Bradman's batting average was 99.94.
Round Seven. Famous Faces. Germaine Greer - tick; Ricky Gervais, tick; Charles Manson in the early days - cross. Helen pointed out Kristine; a blonde-bobbed combination of Kate Winslet and Keira Knightley at the peak of health, who sauntered by in tiny designer jeans, knee-high boots and tight top: "She's a GP who has three kids."
"We HATE her!"
Round eight - Acronyms. NIMBY yes, BANANA - no (and I can't remember it now). ADIDAS is to my pontificating, bossy, pompous chagrin, is 'All Day I Dream About Sex' and not the combination of the German sports clothing founder's name - Adi Dassler. For a few moments the table were very impressed with my knowledge as I insisted that this was correct. Ten minutes later when the page was being marked, someone threw a squashed strawberry at me (Love Chunks insists it wasn't him)...
By the final round, most of us had lost our voices, not won any incidental prizes, drunk all the wine, eaten the best bits of the dip and nuts and found ourselves in seventh place out of fifteen. The M&Ms had not fulfilled their famous promise and were indeed sweating in my anxious hands. One of the comperes was auctioning off the final donation of the night: "What am I bid for ten sessions with a personal trainer?"
Love Chunks expressed what we - eight tired, emotional, disappointed, hoarse and slightly drunk parents out past their bedtimes were all thinking: "Buy them yourself, fat boy."