IT’S A MAT­TER OF FACTS

RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY, INFORMER’S UP­COM­ING TELE­VI­SION AP­PEAR­ANCE IS DES­TINED TO BRING OUT THE ARM­CHAIR CRIT­ICS

The Observer - - WEEKEND - WORDS: MICHAEL JA­COB­SON

To­mor­row, Informer and son wing our way to Syd­ney to ap­pear on a TV game show. We hold high hopes of suc­cess de­spite the more likely prospect of ab­ject fail­ure. It’s a gen­eral knowl­edge show and that’s where our prob­lems be­gin. As a Baby Boomer, Informer has reached an age where I am start­ing to for­get every­thing. As a mem­ber of Gen Y, my son has never known any­thing and doesn’t mind. To al­le­vi­ate our an­tic­i­pated em­bar­rass­ment, we have spent weeks com­mit­ting to mem­ory those time-hon­oured game show responses — Me: “I know it, but I’ve gone blank.” Him: “It was be­fore my time.” Prepa­ra­tion be­ing the key to suc­cess, I’ve upped my run­ning over the past month. Af­ter all, I’ve worked much too hard to lose 20kg just for a tele­vi­sion cam­era to whack half of that back on, as I’m told is the case. To be hon­est, we’re not en­tirely sure why we’ve been in­vited. Our au­di­tion hardly set the TV quiz world alight with a per­for­mance so im­pres­sive that other as­pi­rants im­me­di­ately fled back whence they came, des­tined for­ever to re­fer to the ex­pe­ri­ence in only the most hushed of tones. In fact, Informer and son proved dumber than a box of One Na­tion vot­ers. First up we got the num­ber of state and ter­ri­to­ries in Aus­tralia wrong. Worse, we got them wrong even af­ter count­ing them on our fin­gers and say­ing the names out loud. Turns out we ne­glected South Aus­tralia, which on re­flec­tion is per­fectly un­der­stand­able. Then we stuffed up the name of the singer whose face adorns the Aussie $100 note (I said Ju­dith Durham. He said Bey­once. It’s Nel­lie Melba). Fur­ther ig­nominy en­sued in the form of blank ex­pres­sions and hope­lessly in­cor­rect an­swers on Dally M Medal win­ners, the ARIA Hall of Fame, Burke and Wills, Ni­cole Kid­man films, Mel­bourne Cup jock­eys and the num­ber 14. Our ef­fort was all no brains rather than no-brain­ers, beg­ging the ques­tion: why in­vite us? Well, if not for in­tel­lect it can only be comic re­lief or — ad­mit­tedly a long shot — looks. What­ever the an­swer, to­mor­row we head south, co­in­ci­den­tally the same di­rec­tion as our chances of bring­ing home the tro­phy. I sup­pose we could im­prove our ac­tual fac­tual prospects by hit­ting the books in the kind of last-minute cram­ming that was al­ways the go-to study op­tion dur­ing Informer’s school days. An­other op­tion, which worked bril­liantly for my British his­tory exam back in col­lege, is cheat­ing. How­ever, the lat­ter could be risky given we will be un­der lights, on cam­era and in front of an au­di­ence, mean­ing it might look a tad sus­pi­cious should I start rolling up my sleeves to re­veal arms tem­po­rar­ily tat­tooed with facts about the Os­cars, Olympic Games, Green­land, na­tional flags, Shake­speare, dog breeds, Aus­tralian prime min­is­ters, World War Two and poi­sonous plants. Also, I sus­pect the show’s host, un­like my exam in­vig­i­la­tor in 1978, will be awake. Our only hope, it seems, is if the ri­val con­tes­tants are dumber than us, an un­likely sce­nario even though I’ve heard two are com­ing in from ru­ral NSW. Other than that, I fear Informer and son are in for a sad time. Still, you know what they say: many a tear has to fall, but it’s all in the game show.

“OUR ONLY HOPE, IT SEEMS, IS IF THE RI­VAL CON­TES­TANTS ARE DUMBER THAN US ...”

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