The Quizard of Oz

It all started out quite innocently. Once or twice a month my dad, a few uncles and aunts and some of their friends would go to a local quiz. Their group was called ‘The Natural Born Losers’. The name was anything but descriptive as they would often win these local competitions. Years passed and whereas some of the members lost interest, my dad became a hardcore quizzer and consequently a professional list maker. The day after a quiz he would make a complete review: questions they had missed, questions they aced, background information, pictures, puzzles,…

My mum, my brother and I weren’t worried. We thought it was great my dad had found a hobby he thoroughly enjoyed. When eventually the group split up, my dad started looking to join a new team. Online he found a quiz forum, called the Los Flippos. The name I don’t get, trying to make something sound cool when really it is anything but, I guess, but what I do know is that it is an online website that all Belgian quizzers seem to be very fond off. There he found a new team and the quizzing became more regular.

As it turns out, there’s a fine line between hobby and obsession. Not only did he change, the house did too. Our house was piled under by books, DVDs, magazines, multiple newspapers (in case one said something the other didn’t ) ,… And that is when the lists started.

Anything my dad found note-worthy, he jotted down on a piece of paper. However, due to his unorganised manner of working, there were lists all over the house. I would come across those lists everywhere: in the kitchen, in the living room, the study,… I even found lists near the toilet. Awkward. But I digress. From Olympic medal winners to Grammy winning films, from latest top-rated movies or CDs to worst performing artists; he had it all written down. Much to the displeasure of my mum, who likes things tidy.

This was the other issue. Since the list occurred everywhere, there was no way of knowing if something could be thrown out or not. One time my mum threw away some paper that, at first glance, seemed very unlikely to contain essential information. Days after this, my dad frantically started looking around the house. “What’s wrong?”, we asked. “I can’t find my bloody note. I’m sure I had it written down somewhere!” My mum and I glanced at eachother, because we both knew who could be charged ‘guilty’. She’d have to confess. After the incident my dad went back into his bubble, muttering a little, and eventually he continued scribbling his millions of other lists, disappointed having lost a crucial other one. My mum has never dared to toss anything anymore. Lesson learned.

Now, a couple of years later, my dad is still in the quizzing “business”. He even takes part in national competitions. Sometimes he takes the day off just to study for a major competition. I have denounced him crazy many times. I have made fun of him. The lists are still everywhere. I still find collages with things like ‘Kinds of pasta’ on the toilet. The lists have become part of our lives. I have even caught myself making lists. And liking it. Maybe it’s genetic… I hope so. Because behind all the lists my dad himself is just a really long list of great qualities himself.

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