Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Do I Know This?

I have a slight reputation for being kind of good at pop culture trivia. This semi-talent doesn't win me money or fame, but I have garnered a modest level of notoriety in various social circles and have won a few free pitchers of Natural Light in college. I know. I'm feeling boastful today.

Sometimes a person will ask a question that is pop culture-related, often to nobody in particular, and I find myself blurting out the answer the way my baby burps up formula. It's an involuntary response, and sometimes I even surprise myself with the truly random tidbits of knowledge rolling around in my brain. Here are just a few examples. You may not think they're that remarkable, and you can feel free to tell me so. But remember this: Each example I'm about to list occured within the last seven days. I'm on fire.

1. At dinner last Tuesday to celebrate our friend Bean's promotion, Brad jokingly called Bean "Mr. Bean". Then somebody at the table asked nobody in particular the name of the British actor who portrays the character Mr. Bean.

After racking my brain for a half-second (just as I do when trying to remember my 12-times tables), I blurt out "Rowan Atkinson". Everyone within earshot just stares at me.

Why do I know this?

2. While waiting in the doctor's office on Thursday afternoon, I receive a text message from Steve: "Scarlett Johansson dead...she fell onset at a movie shoot in France 70 feet".

What the what? I only had time to fire off an "Are you sure?" reply before being whisked away for an x-ray. While I'm standing in the x-ray machine, I'm considering this possibility. First of all, I have a healthy level of skepticism whenever my husband is the first person to break a piece of major celebrity news. In 2008, he called me at work, breathless, to announce that Jessica Biel was tragically killed when she fell off a yacht in international waters. I seriously don't know what that man is looking at on the Internet,  but he apparently likes to visit web sites that erroneously report the untimely, accidental death of celebrities with famous figures and questionable acting ability who are travelling abroad. AccidentalDeathOfCelebritiesWithFamousFiguresAndQuestionableActingAbility...I wonder if that domain name is taken? That would be a great website. Anyway, I don't believe Steve. Also, I don't think she's even in France. This is what I said to Steve when I finally got to call him:

"I think you're wrong about ScarJo. She was photographed by paparazzi jogging in Malibu with Owen Wilson and Sean Penn just a couple days ago."

Why do I know this?
These pictures caused a huge stir because people thought Scarlett looked pregnant. Boy, I'm so glad that I'm not famous enough for paparazzi to take my picture while I'm jogging. Those would be some unflattering photos! Oh, who am I kidding? I don't jog.

3. While lounging on the couch and flipping through channels on Sunday, Steve poses this question: "Is it bad that I think Lois Griffin is hot?
Me: No. She is hot. ["Us redheads gotta stick together," I think to myself]
Steve: Yeah. I think so, too.
Me: That's random. What made you think of that?
Steve: [points at TV, showing an episode of That 70's Show.] The mom on this show is the voice of Lois Griffin.
Me: No. She isn't.
Steve: [very firmly] Yes, she is.
Me: That's not right.
Steve: Yes it is!
Me: [sigh] Debra Jo Rupp plays Kitty on That 70's Show. Alex Borstein is the voice of Lois Griffin.
Steve: Oh, yeah right. Like the voice of Lois Griffin is a guy! [Shakes his head and laughs, like I'm so dumb and he's so smart]
Steve: Alex can be a girl's name. Like Alexandra.
Steve: Oh yeah. Well, are you sure she's not the voice of Lois?
Me: Uh, yeah.

Why do I know this?

Sidenote: Mila Kunis, who plays Jackie on That 70's Show is the voice of Lois Griffin's daughter Meg on Family Guy. But you knew that, right? That's an easy one.

4. Later on Sunday night, Steve is flipping back and forth between a baseball game and The Wizard of Oz, which is airing on cable.
Steve: Do you know who Judy Garland's mom is?
Me: Um, no...Judy Garland's real name is Frances Gumm, and her parents were Vaudeville performers. But I don't know her name.
Steve: Oh. I'm sorry, I meant to ask if you know who Judy Garland's daughter is.
Me: Oh. Yeah. Liza Minelli. You know that. Why are you even quizzing me?

Why do I know this? (Not the part about Liza, of course. The whole Frances Gumm-Vaudeville thing).

So, yeah. That's all for today. The moral of this story is: in the absence of Google or any other search engine, there's a possibility that I can answer your obscure pop culture trivia question. I'm adding that skill to my resume as soon I finish typing this.

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