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Five minute quiz

In my workplace we have a daily tradition that really brings us together as a team. It centres on the ‘Five Minute Quiz’ published in our local daily newspaper The Dominion Post. This quiz consists of ten questions on a variety of trivia which always seems to spark interesting conversations, debate and a whole lot of fun. Taking the time out to answer these questions has become a habitual micro pause in our busy work day and it is something I love being a part of.

Our self-appointed quiz master has a set of rules which we are required to abide by, even when he is away and someone else is substituting in the role. For example, no answers are accepted from anyone unless they are physically in the pod area where we are doing the quiz. This means you can’t sit at your desk and participate when you feel like it. We have had some funny situations where someone sitting at their desk knows the answer and they shout it out to us. The quiz master won’t accept the answer unless the person comes over to where the rest of us are. Off course we all make sure that happens. We also operate on the premise of absolutely no cheating. We have to make a decision as a group as to which answer we will use if there are different choices on offer and we can’t say we got it right if we happened to make the wrong choice. So often I have heard the quiz master say, “Can you sleep at night if we do that?”

This has become a serious, yet fun, part of my work day. The worst thing about it is how few of the questions I can actually answer. I certainly contribute but nowhere near as much as I would like to. I am constantly amazed at the diversity of the knowledge my colleagues. I have learnt so much about my colleagues’ passions as they provide quickfire responses to questions about sport, music, books, places, historical events, and much much more. There is one woman who seems to know so many of the answers to the questions that we never question her when she suggests something because invariably she is right.

In today’s quiz there was one question that had all of us stumped. It was Question 6: Which American author wrote a famous war satire based on his experiences as an air force bombardier in 1944?


Eventually someone came up with the title of the book.

“It’s Catch 22,” said our American colleague “but I can’t remember who wrote it.”

The problem was neither could anyone else.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the only question we couldn’t answer. We only managed a seven out of ten score today.

Later in the day I went for walk along the waterfront. It was lunchtime and many people were out taking advantage of the break in the bad weather. The sun was beaming down. Its warmth was penetrating and welcomed by me. Everything was glistening. People were laughing. Today was one of those magical Wellington days when our home looks like the piece of paradise that we know it to be.

As I was taking photos a woman who was sitting on the edge of the wharf reading looked up at me and smiled.

“Would you mind taking a photo of me?” she asked.

“Off course I will,” I replied.

She put down her book and reached for her camera in her red cloth bag. We started talking and she told me she was a tourist from Germany. She was in Wellington for only two days.

I kept thinking “Thank goodness today was one of those special Wellington days.”


As she was positioning herself for the photo I noticed the title of the book she had been reading.


Catch 22! How’s that for synchronicity. I told her the story of the quiz and why I was so interested in the book.

She smiled as she informed me she had only started reading it today.

I headed back to work with the answer to Question 6 of today’s quiz imprinted in my brain because I now had a story to go with it.

Question 6: Which American author wrote a famous war satire based on his experiences as an air force bombardier in 1944?

Answer: The book is Catch 22 and the author is Joseph Heller.

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One Response to “Five minute quiz”

  1. on 09 Feb 2012 at 12:55 am Ian West

    Nice to see the picture, as I designed that book jacket in around 1976… a lifetime ago.

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