Have you ever been tempted to cheat?
I thought I was immune from temptation, having been brought up by a mother who impressed
it upon my little sister and me that there was absolutely no point in cheating at anything because you would always know that you had – so any gain would be worthless in your own eyes. If that Major in the audience of Who Wants to be a Millionaire
who coughed to indicate the correct answers to his accomplice had been brought up by my mother, he would have declined to be involved right from the start and saved himself from disgrace.
Yesterday evening, however, I discovered for myself what it was like to be tempted to cheat. Mr B and I were at the Bowls Club’s Pub Quiz Night. I’m not sure how you can have a Pub Quiz in a bowls clubhouse
where you bring your own booze and there’s no bar, or barmaid or mine host, or any of the trappings of the average pub. But there we are, good old Doug, who was organising the evening, billed it as a Pub Quiz and who were we to argue?
We arrived at 6.15 p.m. for an evening which was due to start at 7 p.m. This is what you call “Bowls Club Time.” Everyone in the Bowls Club always arrives
a good three quarters of an hour before the scheduled start of anything. Two new members turned up yesterday at 6.50 p.m. to find everyone already tucking into their Ploughman’s Meal. I felt a bit guilty that I had not warned them about Bowls Club Time
– but I guess they will learn.
After our dinner our Quiz Master circulated two sheets of paper, one on which to write down all our answers, the other
a picture quiz. Our team – Mr B and me with our friends Bob and Val – groaned in unison when we saw the picture quiz. These included four cathedrals, 16 cars and a number of products all to be identified from grainy photographs.
We never do too well on the pictures, even when Mr B remembers to bring his reading glasses.
There were eight categories in the quiz itself – such as People,
Places, Music, you know the kind of thing. We put our heads together and managed to hazard a guess at every question, on the basis that there is no point at all in leaving a blank when a wild guess might just score. Mr B, who was convinced that the teams around
us were listening in on our deliberations, kept shushing us and shielding our answers with the page of pictures. Mr B takes quizzes, whether in a pub or not, very seriously.
We were on the last but one category when I met my challenge. The question was: who told the stories of the Arabian Nights? Of course I knew the answer! After all, did not Hazel Bagel, the Middle of the Grand-daughters, play the part in
a school production when she was in the top class of Junior School? I could just picture her, looking stunningly beautiful in her red gown, singing songs to break your heart. What I couldn’t remember was the name of the story-teller – it
had flown straight out of my head. Unbelievable!
“I do know it!” I told the other members of my team, “It will come back to me in a minute,
just you see...” It didn’t. I went through every letter of the alphabet in my head, trying to give myself a clue. This often works with crossword puzzles. But not on this occasion. Which was when the sneaky thought crept into
my head – a quick text to my grand-daughter and I’d have the answer. Who would see? Who would know? After all, I did really know the answer, didn’t I, it was just a failure of the memory not a lack of knowledge. For the first time in
my life, and I do mean ever, I was tempted to cheat.
You – and my mother - would be proud of me. I resisted the temptation. And then, just as we were handing
over our sheet of answers to the next table to mark, the name flew into my head as swiftly as it had flown out of it: “Scheherazade!” Mr B grabbed back our answer sheet in the nick of time and scrawled in the answer. We were just in time.
What’s more, that correct answer put us in contention with two other teams for a play-off question – and we went on to win, with a cheeky guess. A bottle of wine
apiece and the honour of being Pub Quiz Winners. If I’d cheated, all the pleasure would have gone out of it. I might have had to confess and be thrown out of the Bowls Club in disgrace. Even if I had kept silent, as my mother so truly foretold
- I would have known. As would my grand-daughter, aka Scheherazade, and what a sorry lesson that would have been.
I am so glad I resisted temptation. Cheats,
as my dear mother would have said, NEVER prosper...
P.S. Nobody else - repeat nobody else - knew the correct answer!