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Earlier tonight I participated in a trivia contest in a local pub. There were about eighty people there who were in self-selected teams of about eight people each gathered around a table. The median age was in the thirties with only a few over fifty, but everyone was drinking beer and the atmosphere was very friendly and slightly raucous. It appeared that people at each table were friends outside of this particular environment and there seemed to be only a little social mixing between tables before the contest began.

The actual contest was reasonably interesting and fairly conducted, but as it began the volume of the LOUD speakers was noticeably vibrating the plank table I was sitting at. I literally put wads of napkin paper in my ears and cupped my hands over my head during the louder portions – it wasn’t enough! The event was about two hours long and the assembly was given difficult questions of general knowledge of facts and each team came up with answers. These were written down on a score card, submitted several times and judged. The questions were largely about TV and music and probably of the type seen on typical game shows. I thought our group did reasonably well on answering the questions, but we never scored in the top three groups. There was a group next to us which was succeeding in identifying music – title and the bands from about eight notes played on a bass guitar. They got nineteen out of twenty, and I didn’t even recognize a single tune, let alone what it was and who was most famous for playing it. That group did equally well on TV trivia and swept up prizes in most of the categories.

The pain-noise of being in that room would have driven me out had I not been a member of a special group and felt I might be able to give some useful input on some subjects, which in fact I did. But most of the categories and questions were pure memory knowledge of superficial facts of the type of no use in any pursuit, other than a trivial pursuit. As it became apparent that this group were masters of this particular type of information I started trying to identify what were these people’s characteristics beyond knowing these types of answers. Obviously they were intelligent, had good memories and had spent vast amounts of time exposing themselves to those types of environments but they had another quality one could spot from a block away. They were all super obese! Not overweight by ten pounds, overweight by one hundred pounds – perhaps I exaggerate because I don’t know how to judge these things by sight but they were BIG.

Now the question arises in my mind, – was there a cause and effect relationship of some kind, and if so what could it possibly be? Was it because they sat and watched TV, or similar activities, while also eating and drinking beer, or was this obesity their natural body type and watching TV was all they could do, and so they did a lot of it? I don’t know. It might be a question worth pursuing. This is the first group of people here in Oregon I have seen who were so out of sync with the general healthy outdoor activity-oriented culture so prevalent here.