The Poem

I was not having a good day Monday.  The slushy rain-snow-sleet mix that came crashing down on the Capital District seemed to turn every other driver in the area into imbeciles.  Nothing like poor traction on I-787 to make some idiots want to DRIVE FASTER!

I needed some good news – something to pick me up.  Normally, that would have meant going to trivia at Brown’s Brewing on a Monday night, but even that felt kind of hollow, like I was just going through the motions.

I arrived at Brown’s, and my mood hadn’t improved.  The upper floor of Brown’s – where trivia is normally contested – was still full of dining patrons, which meant my favorite table would be claimed by someone else.  Oh well… it didn’t matter.

Normally I go to the hostess station, say hi to the hostess there, chat for a couple of minutes, then she takes a menu and a specials sheet and walks with me up to the second floor.  I sit at the table, and within about 45 seconds there’s a diet cola waiting for me.  Half the time I don’t know if it’s just routine or rote.

Today, there were two hostesses at the station – Sara and Kalli.  In addition to greeting and seating patrons, they were also doodling artistic renditions of their names on the backs of specials menus.  Fun stuff.

“You’re table’s not ready, Chuck,” they said.

“Doesn’t matter,” I said half-heartedly.  “I’ll just find an open seat and my teammates will show up soon.”  I started to head upstairs.

“Cheer up, Chuck,” one of the girls said to me.  “If you like, we’ll write you a poem.”

“Yes,” said the other hostess.  “We write poems about everybody here, we can write one about you.”

A poem.  You’re going to write a poem about me.  I’m not sure I like where this is going.

See, anybody who’s ever heard the song “The Name Game” knows that nearly every name in that “baby’s name book” can be turned into a lyric of that song.  Example… “Shirley, Shirley bo Birley Bonana fanna fo Firley, Fee fy mo Mirley, Shirley!”

Now try doing that with Chuck.

“Chuck, Chuck, bo-buck, Bonana fanna fo …”

Yeah.  Works wonders.

“Okay,” I said, “Let’s see what you can write.  Just remember, though, I write a blog for the TU, and I might just print this in the blog.”

Next thing I knew, they took the back of one of the specials menus and started writing, “My name is Chuck…”

I went upstairs and found an open table.  All those years of elementary school teasing didn’t make me feel any more confident about how this was going to turn out.

Jeremy and Alexis arrived, and we talked about several things – what everyone’s plans were for the upcoming holidays, what they did over the weekend, etc.

Just then, Kalli and Sara walked up to the second floor.  They had the poem in their hand.

Okay… I’m prepared for the embarrassment.  I guess.

They began to read the poem.

My name is Chuck
Brown's is where I am stuck
I got kicked out of the Recovery Room
For having too much luck
I like to sit at table twenty-one
Where I tell the girls many a-pun
When you hear me yell "Whoooo"
You know I am having fun
Even though I don't drink beer
I hold Brown's very dear
Every Monday night
You can find me here!

by Sara and Kalli

Well… I wasn’t expecting that.

I asked them if they got some of the information from Shelby or Amy or Sonja or any of the other Brown’s employees to fill out their poem.

“No,” they said.  “We like talking with you.  Do you like the poem?”

Actually … to be honest … I did like it.  It wasn’t mean-spirited or hurtful – in fact, if I’m being honest, it was kind of cute.  Thanks, Kalli and Sara.

As for trivia that night, we were getting clobbered at first.  We doubled-down on a 10-point question, “Who was the first actor to receive an Oscar nomination – despite being dead?”  It could have been Heath Ledger, but we doubled-down and went with Ledger and Peter Finch (from Network).  Unfortunately, we didn’t go back far enough, because the answer was James Dean.  Loss of 20 points.  Oops!

But we clawed our way back, and by the 20th question we had a two-point lead.  The final question involved “Movie Awards.”

The question was, “What country gives out the Genie Awards for the best in film?”

I knew this one cold.  While every other trivia team scribbled down India, I wrote down Canada, handed it up, and we won our second consecutive $30 gift card.  Street Academy for the win!  Whooo!!

As I drove home, the poem carefully tucked in my jacket pocket, I thought about how depressed I was on my way to trivia – and now, I’m heading home feeling somewhat less morose about things.

Of course, I’m sure that by posting that poem in this blog, I’ve opened myself up to a boatload of ridicule, possibly a BRUTAL amount of clowning from other trivia teams, but so what?  Maybe, just maybe, it’s nice to have something like that happen – something unexpected that provides a small, sunny break in the rainy slushy day.

So feel free to bring it on.  Keep it clean, but bring it on.