These poor souls were chaps that were in some way impaired, whether it was a serious mental condition, a physical affliction, both or just slightly odd. They were treated with disrespect, blamed for everything, used as target practice and typically didn’t have a very long life expectancy. Village Idiots were always chaps, reason being that any female that showed any signs of any abnormal behaviour, even that potential monthly volatility was clearly a witch and was promptly burnt at the stake. Having been dunked good and proper in the local pond to see if she survived drowning or not. If she did, she was clearly a witch and was rushed to the bonfire pronto and if you didn’t well the matter had taken care of itself.
So yes village idiots were always men .... which begs an interesting question doesn't it? Only joking chaps!!
Anyway …. As time progressed and we became more civilized(?) village idiot was used as a term to make fun when one was being a bit slow on the uptake, oh how we laughed. And then obviously we decided it wasn’t a very nice term to describe anyone regardless. However has this practice of rating the village population disappeared? It would seem not, just manifested in another form. The Village Quiz.
During my recent visit to Blighty one of my friends coeorced me into participating in one such event. Actually that’s not true, when enquiring as to my interest I replied “absolutely what a hoot!” - the wild and exciting times of the robe & dressing gown designer.
So early one evening we strolled down through the village to the village hall, wine tote in hand as it was BYOB and prepared to prove ourselves unworthy of aforementioned title. For those in the UK, many of you will have experienced a village hall at some point in your lives and I suspect they’re not too dissimilar to their American cousins or anywhere else for that matter – sartorial interior design they are not. But leaving the highly questionable décor behind it was indeed an absolute hoot!
Looking around the hall there was a real mix of villagers. The slightly crusty, tweedy types shouting “now look here, I’ve got Bisque as a fish stew can I give them one point?” After each round we swapped papers and marked another team’s. The farming types saying “since when has Bisque ever been a stew? – Nah, no points!” The capable ladies who you don’t want to get on the wrong side of, that always organize the “refreshments” and then there was us in our heels and handbags ….
We did not disgrace ourselves by any means, coming in around 5th place out of 14 teams or so and it was just brilliant fun. Before you say “you really need to get out more”, let me explain.
We all enjoy a bit of a competition and when wine is involved, how can one go wrong? There were 10 questions on 9 different topics, ranging from Musicals, the 19th century to Interesting Buildings. It was implicit that mobile phones, ipads etc were not allowed, phoning a friend didn’t even enter into it and conferring across teams was strictly prohibited.
It used my brain across a wide range of subjects and topics, dredging up tid-bits I never knew I knew – for example the Pontipees are the family in what musical? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I’ve never seen it, nor do I like musicals – who knew? In our lives today, information is so easy to obtain, there is a ton of throw away data that you can discover and then immediately forget, because it will still be there tomorrow, right? So there is no real need for us to retain the fact that Canterbury Cathedral is the UK’s oldest, because we know Wikipedia has that detail and more.
My friend would say it was the wine talking, but my brain certainly felt as though it had been given a wee workout and it was surprisingly pleasant.
Will I be desperate to do this every Friday night, every 3rd Friday of the month – no perhaps once a year at most. It was a jolly evening that gave our brains a little stretch here and there, and reminded me of the phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Which is a term darhling one can apply to anything in life.
Look Gorgeous, Feel Fabulous - Sophie
P.S. I don’t think they pelted the losing team with turnips the next morning, but I can’t be sure ….