Whenever I'm not reading or working or reading at work; whenever I'm not sleeping or walking or walking in my sleep; whenever I'm not at a party or at a movie or doing something fun, I am watching the teevee. And though it might look as if I'm 'relaxing' or 'spacing off' I am, in fact, studying. Because the teevee is a profound font of trivia. There is, if I may reinforce my last statement, nothing more trivial than the teevee. It has much to teach me. And I am and have been its eager student. So what rewards have my many thousands of hours of learning brought me? Well, only one, recently, unless you count poor eyesight, middling conversational skills and a tendency to drift into fantasy as rewards. (It's been said, usually by advertising executives posing as self-help pundits, that the watching, or rather 'the journey' is reward enough.) What the teevee has (finally) beknighted me with is the envy and the respect (possibly) of twenty-five or thirty members of The Providence Athenaeum. That, and one third of a bottle of sparkling wine. It was at The PA, last night, that my wife and I (and Jonathan and Sarah, friends of friends; kindly, wise strangers), under the sobriquet TEAM POUTINE, took first place in what's called a Pub Quiz. To me, it was like any other game show, where the 'fabulous prizes' have been replaced by (diaphanous) 'prestige.' Still, there was the sparkling wine. And the gloating (disguised as aw-shucks humility). You may not believe this but I get few opportunities to gloat and I like to make the most of them. So thank you, teammates, we could not have done it without each other. And thank you, The Providence Athenaeum, for giving us a forum for glory (and to you, Christina, for the Ada Books shout-out). And thanks to you, the teevee, for making me appear smarter than I am.


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