Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
In the NFL the best two teams compete for ultimate supremacy in the Super Bowl. And in our nation's pasttime of baseball, only one team can claim the title of World Series champion. Glory and honor goes to the gold medal-winners in the Olympics, and boxing's champions receive the honor of wearing a really big gold belt. Being only an average athlete, I have absolutely no chance of winning any of these things. Let's just say I was never picked first for kick ball ... or second ... or third, for that matter. (I was usually picked right before the kid with a weird foot fungus condition who had a note from his mom so he wouldn't have to shower in the locker room.) But, when it comes to remembering the music of obscure '80s rock groups, I am the equivalent of Mohamed Ali, Michael Phelps and Bret Favre all rolled up in one! I don't want to toot my own horn, but music trivia knowledge sticks to me like ... uh ... something really, really sticky. For years I hid my gift, not even revealing these special powers to my wife. Until that one fateful day when in Winnipeg with our friends (we'll call them Pete and Debbie) at an Irish pub called Finn McCue's. While sipping on a pint of Guinness and munching on greasy fish-n-chips, someone had changed the music from traditional Irish songs to the best of the '80s.
Pete, upon hearing a particular song, said, "I haven't heard that song for years. It's Duran Duran, isn't it?" It was at this moment that my secret powers were inadvertently revealed. "No, it's Flock of Seagulls with "I Ran So Far Away," I said instinctively.
Holly, Pete and Debbie directed a look at me that seemed to say, "How the heck would you know that?" "It's a gift," I said between mouthfuls of deep-fat-fried codfish. I could no longer keep my secret powers secret, and as the next song came on Pete challenged me to name
the next obscure tune. "'Cruel Summer' by Bananarama," I revealed with absolute confidence. Months later Pete and I were waiting for our wives as they shopped and we decided to meander into a Sharper Image store. On display was a fancy stereo, and on that stereo played a CD of '80s music. Pete looked at me, I looked at Pete, and I placed my finger on the skip button. Night Ranger, Culture Club, Corey Hart ... Pete got them all. Pete had been practicing, and I could see my music trivia dominance slipping away. Had I lost my edge? Had I met my match? "Ok, Nate, focus!" I said to myself. I hit the skip button to go to the next song. "'Funky Town' by Pseudo Echo!" I pressed the skip button again and again. "'True' by Spandau Ballet ... 'I Know There's Something Going On' by Frida!" Then I delivered the knock-out punch: "Released in 1983 by former member of the Swedish pop sensation ABBA!" Pete raised his hands in surrender and I knew I had retained my title. Sadly, basking in my glorious victory was cut short by a very annoyed salesman who kindly but firmly requested we cease from abusing the rather expensive floor display. Considering the possibility of being physically removed from Sharper Image, I thought it was time to announce my retirement. That is until recently, while visiting a friend's winery, Pete and I and our wives relaxed in the courtyard while enjoying a glass of wine on a balmy late-summer day. My friend Pete commented on the classical music and made a guess as to who the composer was of the song. "I think that's Vivaldi, isn't it?" Pete said. I could feel my adrenaline surge, and I tried with every fiber of my being to resist the urge to blurt out the answer. It was no use! "I believe," I said pausing to take a sip of Chardonnay, "that's Giuseppe Verdi."
Game On! © Copyright 2008, Nathan M. Fredrickson. All rights reserved.