I learned today that a trivia player deliberately dumped his beer on a trivia host’s laptop during a trivia game Tuesday night. And as you can imagine, the commenting folks on Facebook are going crazy! All of the comments so far seem to be on her side. I’ll have to say I’m on her side in this one too – she said she filed a police report because of the damage the trivia player caused to her personal property (in this case, her laptop). If necessary, she’ll see the guy in court. In addition to the laptop itself (which she needs for hosting her trivia games), she has software on the laptop that she acquired through being a student at Eastern Michigan University. Which would be quite expensive to replace.
As of this posting, there was a warrant out for the guy’s arrest for malicious destruction of property. He has also been banned from this bar (McShane’s Pub in Ypsilanti, formerly known as Roundtree Bar), and banned from playing all of the other trivia shows she hosts (The Wurst Bar, and Bobby McShane’s in Belleville). And one other local show he plays as well (do not know what show this is).
Yes, it was a dick move. Unacceptable response no matter WHAT she might have done to provoke this action. I don’t know the other guy’s side of the story, but in no way, shape or form is this the right thing to do. However, in the interest in exploring both sides of the story, I’m going to speculate about what motivated this asshole to do this, but first, an anecdote from nearly eight years ago…
Having been in her position in December, 2010 when another person dumped beer on me – I can empathize. On that night, my husband and I found ourselves the target of a confrontation between another group in a bar. Though I was trying to stay out of it, my husband and the other party were primarily the ones exchanging words. I was literally sitting and waiting to go (but I had to finish my beer first, which was full). My full beer is an important plot point!
Then the guy my husband had been arguing with decided to shove my full mug of beer at me. While he was holding a baby in the other arm. My FULL beer spilled over everything I was wearing, which had to be laundered immediately when I got home. Since this was December, it was a cold…wet ride home (thankfully a short ride). I retaliated by dumping his beer over his head. Both he and I had to have lengthy conversations with the bar management staff to ensure that this would not happen again – or we would possibly get permanently banned from the bar. They listened to both parties, but they could clearly see that my beer was dumped on me without provocation – and a woman in that party was clearly heard yelling derogatory names at me as she left the bar. I believe she said something along the lines of “Fucking giant.” Classy… Even though my husband had been arguing with people during this altercation, he did not have so sit down with bar management. Just me…because I was the one who crossed the line! I’ll admit it…that was NOT the right thing to do (although I ain’t gonna lie…it just kind of “felt” right).
Having grown up as the youngest child in my family who got into my fair share of hot water, let’s just say I developed a “talent” for talking my way out of trouble – and it was working overtime in this case! And the Oscar goes to…(LOL)! I’ve never been able to talk my way out of speeding tickets, unfortunately, but that’s because I’ve used up this “talent” in so many other situations! Like the time I talked a cop into slim-jimmying my car when I locked the keys in it (my friends and I were playing hide-and-seek at a cemetery after dark). Yup! I had to creatively “explain” to this cop why we were all at a cemetery after dark. I’m not even sure what story I told this cop, but he bought it! Hey, he probably got a cheap thrill out of having a teenage girl in his police cruiser (I went into a the police station to fill out a police report). He never notified my parents.
As for dumping the beer over the guy’s head, I should have taken more of a “high road” response – just tattled on him to the bar staff, or SOMETHING – or just walked away. This is exactly why I would rather have dental work than get into a confrontation. I will do almost ANYTHING to avoid being in any kind of confrontation. That’s because I know that once I’m pushed past a “certain” point, I get like Mary McFly in the Back to the Future films when someone calls him “chicken.” When I get pushed too far? All bets are off – and so are the gloves! Thankfully, I haven’t been in too many situations like this in my life, and I’m a pretty level headed, calm person. But don’t…just don’t…push me too far!
What’s very telling to me in all of this is that NO ONE has asked why this guy did what he did. And she hasn’t said that herself. I’m a firm believer in the expression, “Nothing happens in a vacuum.” Another way to word this is, “Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin'” I have also played enough of this trivia host’s trivia shows to know that being on the other side of the mic – (i.e., a lowly player), can have its… challenges. Sometimes trivia questions are worded poorly. Sometimes they need clarification. Sometimes they’re so shitty they should just be thrown out and replaced. This trivia league recently got rid of its “shenanigans” rule, which gave players the option to call “shenanigans” when a question was so tough that all teams in the bar got it wrong. Why? Because someone got into a fist fight about it!
Just to be clear…dumping a beer on this woman’s laptop was unacceptable and could be punishable in a court of law unless they settle out of court. I am taking her side in this case. However, I have seen that she can be quite rigid in her trivia hosting duties and she has repeatedly not clarified confusing questions, and instead says “Just send an e-mail to the league” when questions arise about the questions. We put down the answer of “cow” when asked what kind of animal represents Elmer’s Glue in a December, 2017 game. Many, many other teams put this answer down as well. She did not accept this as a correct answer, instead stating that she would only accept “bull” as the correct answer – or “bovine.” And my husband was angry enough about this to not want to play any more of her shows. Keep in mind this was one of many, many incidents with this host about confusing and poorly worded questions that she would refused to even ATTEMPT to clarify (usually a simple Internet search would do). It was not an isolated incident.
All of that said, I was not present at this show when this occurred, nor do I have any idea what provoked this guy to do what he did. What I sincerely hope, however, is that if this incident arose because of his asking for clarification on a question – or complaining about a poorly worded question? That she realizes that not everyone is going to take it lightly, take the high road, or just stop playing her shows. Yes, some people DO take trivia very seriously – especially when there is jackpot money on the line, or just regular prize money, etc. I hope she sees that she doesn’t HAVE to be quite as rigid as she is with the questions. Sometimes more than one answer can be acceptable. Telling players to “Just e-mail the league” doesn’t resolve anything on the spot. I like and respect this host as a person quite a lot, but there are two sides of making trivia fun – and a host who is too rigid and inflexible when asked to clarify questions can ruin the fun of a trivia game just as much as a player who dumps beer on her laptop.
Since I’ve played in a variety of trivia shows with different hosts – and different hosting styles – I know that her M.O. of not altering or clarifying questions is the exception, and not the rule. Even a host from our former Monday night games (which we recently stopped playing) would frequently clarify questions – or even substitute questions if circumstances dictated. And he would often go online to get clarification for things, too. Though we had our complaints about this host, this was NOT one of the complaints we had about him as a host! Be adaptable to your shows/players, I say! Go with the flow. An M.O. for one bar may not work as well at another.
As for the host from Tuesday night, I hope her homeowner’s insurance will help her recover the cost of replacing her laptop. And I’m genuinely sorry this happened. I mean…wasted beer (the horror)! But I would be remiss as a former journalist if I didn’t at least “attempt” to see the other side of the story. I also hope that this player is not only banned from this bar’s trivia night, but banned from entering this bar. If he doesn’t flinch about deliberately destroying a piece of equipment worth a couple of grand at the most, what else might he be capable of doing?