I could scarcely believe my eyes and ears.
There I was planted in front of an afternoon episode of Millionaire Hot Seat watching Eddie McGuire do his shtick before six of at-least-average-intelligence contestants and a studio audience ready to laugh at Eddie’s knockabout style jokes.
It was the first half of the show, known as ‘Fastest Finger’ (introduced last year as part of the rejigged format), where the contestants are pitted directly against each other in competition for a cash prize before the main ‘Hot Seat’ part of the show gets underway. 15 one-at-a-time questions are offered in the quest for what is essentially an entrée cash prize seperate from the eventual big kahuna jackpot. The players enter their guesses to the multiple choice questions into an electronic keypad infront of them and then wait to be told by Eddie if they’re (A) correct and (B) the fastest responder.
All was going well until this question was asked –
Which of these astronauts was not part of NASA’s Apollo 11 Mission which was the first to place a man on the moon in July 1969:
(A) Michael Collins
(B) John Glenn
(C) Neil Armstrong
(D) Buzz Aldrin
Incredibly only one of the contestants got the answer correct. And if that wasn’t astonishing enough (at least to me ‘playing at home’) compounding the jaw drop was the fact only one of the players (not the person who answered correctly) was a twenty-something iGener. In other words, no one, besides the female law student Centennial in the candy apple red dress, I would have thought, had any reason not to know.
Like I say, I would have thought.
I realise it’s been a number of years since any generation of school children was standardly taught the name of the first person to walk on the moon, but still I would have thought some things, like the fact the ancient pyramids are located in Egypt or that Albert Einstein was the person who first conceived the equation E = mc2 , are just generally known fragments of knowledge people living in Western countries acquire by at least the time they’ve reached adulthood.
But they are assumptions on my part and as the ‘ol chestnut saying goes, when you assume anything you run the risk of making an ass out of you and me (or should that be an ass out of you infront of me?). I’m not even going to assume that people get that older-than-the-hills wordplay, hence the use of colours to spell out the double meanings).
Those punters on Millionaire Hot Seat didn’t go so well with the astronauts question so likely they’d be fumblin’ on this one as well –
True or False.
According to NASA, outer space has no smell.
The answer is false.
According to those who would know (NASA) outer space smells like welding fumes.
Ps. If you’d like to see a quite nutty answer from a contestant on Millionaire Hot Seat CLICK HERE
Pss. The astronaut listed who was not part of the Apollo 11 Mission to the moon in July 1969 was John Glenn (who was the first American to orbit the earth in 1962 – and I didn’t expect you to know that!)
Psss. There’s a new movie with a writerly theme just been released. It’s called CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? and stars Melissa McCarthy. It is based on the 2008 confessional memoir of American writer Lee Israel (1939 – 2014), an author known for her involvement in literary forgery.