Trivia travails

It's Trivia Night on a lazy summer evening and the MC bears an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Jones, he of 6th grade science and big baby blues. Wonder why? Because it is Mr. Jones, and he's gotten himself a second gig. Central Massachusetts is seeing an influx of teachers moonlighting for extra cash on their summer vacations--as trivia moderator at the local tavern. According to owners of the hosting establishments, teachers' adeptness at crowd control and tendency to possess wide-ranging knowledge make them the perfect candidate. Bob Carney, a trivia-night organizer, explains the phenomenon thusly: "Teachers are knowledgeable. They know how to control a room full of people. And if you can handle a 10-year-old, you can handle the occasional drunk."  For many bar owners, that skill set has turned their worst nightmare into an anticipated (and lucrative) event. Teachers seem to be getting a similarly rewarding, and perhaps therapeutic, experience. "We spend our days urging students to think deeply about complex ideas," explains assistant principal Joel Bates. "And then that night, we're at a trivia event asking, 'Who was the lead singer for Def Leppard?'" Can't stump Gadfly with that one.

"School's out, but factoids are in for teachers," by D.C. Denison, Boston Globe, July 1, 2009