Sometimes late at night, in a fit of writer’s insecurity, I fear that almost no one reads this column, or if they do, they’re just skimming it without retaining any of its valuable information. This in turn leads me to worry that the column contains no valuable information. This, in a nutshell, is how the insomniac brain functions. The good news is that once I realized this column, in fact, doesn’t contain any valuable information, and I learned to embrace that fact, I’ve been sleeping soundly ever since.
However, just to ease my mind about how much of this stuff readers are committing to memory, I give an annual pop quiz to test your knowledge of the non-valuable information I’ve been offering up in the past year. The quiz is below, with an answer key below that.
If you get all five questions right, thank you! You’ve been a faithful reader. You’re helping me sleep at night, and you’re probably keeping yourself off the streets, too, where you would no doubt have gotten yourself into trouble, causing your poor old mother endless worry.
If you get four out of five right, well done! You’re a regular reader, and show clear aptitude for retaining useless and generally false information. I hope you’re registered to vote.
If you get two or three right, you’re a casual reader, and that’s okay. You tend to read the column on a slow Bluegrass Today news day, when there are no video announcements of band personnel changes, and no bluegrass musicians have undergone any medical procedures.
If you get only one right, you almost never read this column, or if you do, you don’t bother to store any of the content. That’s okay, really. I respect the fact that you’re probably keeping your mind free for matters of substance like Platonic philosophy, the Detroit Tigers’ starting lineup, or the lyrics to Little Bessie (long version).
The pop quiz:
1. Is the following a true statement, and where did it come from?
“Though now well over 100 years old, Bill Monroe is still working with the draft horses on his farm in Robertson County, TN, completely hidden from view, thanks to a ‘false farm’ with a thick stand of trees which obscures the view of the actual farm.”
A. Yes, it’s completely true. I never believed the story of Bill Monroe’s “death” in 1996.
B. No, it’s an item taken from one of the new Russian-financed fake bluegrass news sites, realbluegrass.net
C. Yes, the construction of “false farms” is a growing business because it turns out there’s more profit in those right now than in real farms.
D. Yes, but it’s only partially true. Bill Monroe is only working with false draft horses now, which he finds much easier to harness up at his age (source: CompletelyTrueBluegrassNewsWeSwear.com)
2. What is “Bearglove”?
A. A new cologne that smells exactly like the glove of a bear, which smells completely different from the sock of a bear (“Bearsock” is also a cologne, but less popular)
B. A town in Ohio, just north of Chillicothe and just east of West Bearglove
C. One of a list of potential band names based on actual deodorant names. “Bearglove” claims to smell “as great as nature is.”
D. A glove sold in Colorado, popular with hikers, which emits a scent which is said to repel bears. It’s rated 30% effective in clinical trials.
3. Where did these lines come from?
“One who loves pigs, who will be kind and true
And who won’t mind a small bit of muck on her shoe”
A. A version of Pig in a Pen, rewritten in the style of Dr. Seuss
B. A personals ad, placed in the farm publication The Western Producer
C. The second verse of the original rough draft version of Bob Dylan’s Girl From the North Country
D. A “help wanted” ad placed by an Iowa senator in need of an intern
4. What is “Crowdpaper”?
A. Bluegrass festival promoter slang for cash paid by festival attendees, as in, “we took in a lot of crowdpaper this year.”
B. A new and inexpensive way to cover the stage area of an outdoor festival in case of rain
C. Slang for a cheap premium paid to people who contribute to your crowdfunding campaign at the lowest possible level (one dollar or less), e.g. a picture of your new CD, or a 3X5 trading card of your mandolin player
D. A new type of wallpaper, used by acoustic music club owners, that realistically depicts a paying crowd, making attendance appear much better than it actually is
5. Where did these lyrics come from?
She walks through the door and she walks through the room
To get to the point where she walks through the door
She took all the time off my phone and she had to
You know that I’m not feeling good about this
A. The new 21 Pilots album
B. A bad LSD trip
C. A rewrite of Fox on the Run relying only on a smartphone’s predictive text suggestions
D. The diary of a 16 year old boy named Bucky