ATLANTIC CITY — For weeks, I anticipated winning my first trivia night.
I’ve watched the American version of “The Office” from beginning to end, more times than I can count. I quote the show often in the newsroom, probably annoying my editors often. My fiance and I watch the seasonal episodes every holiday, and the show is generally on when the TV is on.
So when the opportunity came up to test my knowledge Wednesday night at the “That’s What She Said” trivia night at Bourre on South New York Avenue, I was ready to go.
I had already imagined our team’s acceptance speech, and it would definitely include “I feel God in this Bourre tonight” — a Pam Beesly quote after she wins the Dundie for whitest sneakers during an episode in the second season, slightly tweaked. Sure, I was on a team with one other “Office” fanatic like myself and three casual watchers, but I told myself it would be fine.
I can admit, now, that I was out of my league; my hubris had gotten the best of me.
There had to be close to two dozen teams crowded around tables. A handful even came out in costume — company picnic and Halloween Pams, a Mose with “FEAR” taped across his chest, a rock-bottom Angela complete with a purse full of plush cats, a three-hole-punch Jim Halpert and a few Dwight Schrutes, too.
It didn’t faze me at first, being in the company of so many people who were as into the show as I am. I ordered one of the themed drinks on special — The Senator: A mix of vodka, Triple Sec, cranberry juice and lime — and wrote out our themed team name atop the 40-question answer sheet.
We were going to win.
We did pretty well the first round, getting only three out of 10 questions incorrect, but when the scores were announced, we learned how tight the competition was. Teams like Scrantonicity III, The People Persons Paper People and The Lizard Kings had all scored higher.
Some questions were pretty easy. Of course, we knew that Dwight Schrute said that “Those who can’t farm, farm celery.” The full name of the character who goes by Erin is Kelly Erin Hannon. And, of course, Michael Scott got the “World’s Best Boss” mug for himself — he bought it at Spencer Gifts.
During the breaks between rounds for scoring, there was a cheese ball toss and a costume contest. Our team didn’t participate in either but clapped for the winners. At some point, two of my teammates acquired one of the barrels of cheese balls.
But then we kept getting questions wrong, even though there were some close calls. We incorrectly said the address of the Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin was 1724 Slough Ave. when it’s really 1725. We knew that Andy Bernard had won the hot dog eating contest at beach day, but our answer was that he ate 14; actually, “one came up,” so the correct answer was 13.
We knew all but one of the Dunder Mifflin employees who transferred from the Stamford to the Scranton branch. I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic when I say I will never forget Hannah Smoterich-Barr’s name for the rest of my life.
Then there were questions that were really tough. What’s the name of Jo Bennett’s autobiography? (“Take a Good Look.”) What was the name of the old lady Erin worked for in Florida? (Irene.) What was the name of Andy’s acting agent? (Carla Fern, played by Roseanne Barr.)
In the end, three hours after the night had begun, the judge announced first through third places. We hadn’t placed; I wasn’t too surprised. I left the bar with my teammates, clutching the barrel of cheese balls and feeling humbled.
We didn’t even find out our final score.
But my first experience with a trivia night hasn’t deterred me, even if I now feel like taking a break from watching “The Office” for a little while. It’s just too soon, and even hearing the opening jingle still stings a little.
When I think about it, my mind goes to the white board in the Michael Scott Paper Co., and the quote written there.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. — Wayne Gretzky” — Michael Scott.