Sunday, February 05, 2006

Trivial Pursuits

Last night, my husband and I went to a church trivia night. This is what Catholics like me do when it is not Lent, and thus, we have no fish fries to attend.

As I sipped my Boulevard Pale Ale, I pondered what I was doing when everyone else was learning who the first Prime Minister of India was (can't remember) and which country boasts the longest suspension bridge (Japan) and who was the wrestler Hulk Hogan portrayed in Rocky III (Thunderlips--my husband knew that one. Good job, honey.)

Then the moderator asked what the names were of the four main characters in the reconfigured T.V. show "The Facts of Life."

"Jo, Blair, Natalie and Tootie," I blurted.

Ah. That's what I was doing. Watching T.V.

Meanwhile, Neil, the genius at our table, and also a heckuva nice guy, carried our team into the upper eschelon of Catholic braniacs. Alas, my husband and I left before the results were tallied. Unless Table 50, who was beating us by seven points, choked on the first three words of the song with the lyrics "Triumph all ye cherubim. Sing with us ye serabim..." (Hail, Holy Queen) and the number of blue trashbags in the rolls sold for the school fundraiser (16), they beat us. That was unlikely seeings how a Catholic school parent/graduate not knowing the answers to these questions is like an American not knowing what U.S.A. stands for.

As we drove to my parents house, where our three sons were staying for the night, I vowed to better myself, to be well-read, and I'm not just talking about Inside T.V. magazines.

My five-year-old son Johnny is already making this pursuit necessary. I signed him up for a science class for 3 to 5 year olds and he asked if I thought they'd discuss early evolution. He has us read him medical encyclopedias for bedtime stories. I am not exaggerating. As his homeschool teacher, I have to get smart to meet his insatiable thirst for knowledge.

At the same time, I know he'll find his own way in areas I know nothing about, like literature, sports, science, geography, movies, history, music, and "general," incidently, eight of the 10 categories in last night's game. (I didn't answer the food questions right either, but on the contrary, I think I'm an expert in that category.)

Like the song says, "I see babies smile. I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll ever know. And I think to myself what a wonderful world."

Our family is on a quest for knowledge. But facts are just one side of it. I am also learning how to be a good mom, a good daughter/sister/neice/cousin/granddaughter and friend. That is what this blog is about. Learning from a life that is common, a family that is like many others, a neighborhood that is just one of millions (billions, zillions, brazillions?) in the world.

So why bother writing about these things? Because when you get pulled into the breathing world head first, screaming and twitching and looking like a creature from another planet, you become a student. Your little life in your little home on your little street in your little neighborhood in your solar system is trying to teach you something. Not just how hot the sun is at its surface (6,000 degrees K--I guess that stands for Kahrenheit) but what we should do in the hours that it shines upon us.

I want to learn.

Fact of the day: Scientists are working on creating mice with human brains. Learn about it at
Question of the day: What will the mice use to lure us into their traps?
(Cheese, yes. But be more specific. Velveeta? Cheddar? Gouda?)


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