Mr. J B Fact Finder

Trivia Needs a New Name


When you hear the word “Trivia”, what comes to your mind? Webster’s defines the word

Trivia: Worthless, light, and not important.

In reference to the literature world of facts and short stories, I totally disagree with that definition. I feel that trivia has a lot more to offer, and deserves higher recognition than just basic information that was decided by someone on their own, to not be very important. Trivia can bring into focus the danger that was involved in the expedition. It can give the person of topic, a soul and character. It provides the main item that everyone is looking for in a story,       the story behind the story.

We often hear about the Apollo 11 moon landing, but we seldom hear about how close the astronauts who landed on the moon came to not being able to make it off of the moon and back to the orbiting command module flying overhead. While getting suited up to walk out of the lunar landing module, and onto the surface of the moon, one of the astronauts back pack hit the control panel of the landing module. Nothing was thought of it at the time, but later when it came time to take off from the moon and rendezvous with the command module, it was then discovered that the control switch that was used to ignite the engines that would take them off of the moon and back into space to meet with the command module had been broken off, and now there was no way to start the engines and take off. For the next several minutes the astronauts and Nasa both thought hard, and looked for ways to make the engines of the lunar lander come to life again. After much deliberation, the answer turned out to be quite simple. One of the astronauts simple unscrewed a ball point pen, and jammed the barrel of the pen down into the control panel. This allowed them to be able to toggle the switch to ignite the engines, and safely lift off from the face of the moon, and back to the orbiting command module fling high overhead. 

A story like this kind of makes you look at the mission a little differently doesn’t it. Trivia is the fun side of history. With trivia you can learn, have fun, and amaze your friends all at the same time.

For you teachers out there, if I may, I would like to run and idea by you. Let’s think outside of the box for a minute. From time to time you may have come across a student who has just not quite grasped the same interest in history as you or I. The student is just unable to see or feel the need to learn all the names and date that come with learning history. They are unable to take the events of the past, and see how they have affected our lives today. Their interest has yet to have been peeked.

What if we started the class with a few trivia facts to catch the classes’ attention, peak their interest, or maybe just to get the brain to churning? My thinking is if you toss a few good stories out there at least once a week, you may develop some more draw to the next class. The students might start to think past the surface of the lesson, and start looking deeper into the story.

No story captures the attention of the listener more than a short trivia story or fact. Few stories will get as strong of a reaction from the listener as a short trivia story or fact. I have a project or experiment for you to try. Find your favorite trivia fact or story, tell it to a friend, and then watch for the reaction they give when you are finished. I am willing to bet that after you have finished your story, the listeners will pause for a second, and with enthusiasm say “Wow! I didn’t know that”.