By Jack Sparacino
Some quizzes are hard to answer and can hurt your brain (well, mine anyway). Luckily, some are more manageable, like this one. 1. Name three things of great value in the Lowcountry that work wonderfully for cheap. A personal fan, a pail of live bait, and an oyster knife. All under ten dollars. 2. What is the most beautiful sounding instrument that hardly anyone plays except for kindergarten teachers (in the 1950’s)? The autoharp. Play a recording by Bryan Bowers and close your eyes. 3. Name all the great Lowcountry foods that taste like chicken. Chicken. 4. Who was the most talented all-around performer of all time? Fred Astaire. He hit the trifecta: dancer, singer, and actor. Thirty one musical films. First recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors (1978). Lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute. And on and on and on.
5. What were the best musicals ever? West Side Story and Les Miserables. After seeing a performance of either show, can you ever get the songs out of your head?
6. What is the friendliest medium sized city with unbeatable restaurants? Charleston. Pick any street downtown and take a walk. Count the smiles you exchange. Pick a restaurant practically blindfolded. Take off the blindfold, enjoy your meal, continue your walk.
7. What are the most unbelievably great big cities? New York, Paris, London. There’s a good reason why so many people go there (39.4 million combined international visitors in 2010 alone) and why they cost what they do (plenty).
8. Would you like coffee or tea? Coffee. It tastes better than tea (doesn’t it?) and it’s what’s brewed at the office. Americans drink 9 billion gallons of coffee per year vs. 2.2 billion gallons of tea. Hot tea is great when you are sick, or dying of thirst (my best attempt at a left handed complement and with all apologies to lefties). Now iced tea, that’s a different story!
9. Would you like grits with that? Maybe. Almost no matter what people say, grits MIGHT be overrated unless you like really soft bland food. Or you’re just completely flexible when it comes to breakfast. 10. Can technology really make the world a better place? Sure. But there might be too many cell phones in the world (about 5 billion and growing fast), especially in the hands of bad drivers when it’s not an emergency. It’s neat that you can take pictures with them now and do many (most?) things you used to need a separate computer for. Hey, how about an app for sorting through all the other apps and picking just the ones you really need? 11. Who was the best American novelist of all time? Mark Twain. You can start with Ernest Hemingway’s compliment, “All modern literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” Or just read The Prince and the Pauper and go from there. Heaven knows how many scholarly publications were based on Twain and how many million people he has captivated. 12. What is the rarest positive trait of all in humans? A really good sense of humor. Only about ten people a year are born funny (ok, maybe 15) and they should all have statues made of them. Funny statues in funny places.