A Word in your ear - April 5, 2012

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Lovers of pub quizzes will understand the concept of the lucky guess.

From having a stab at “what is the capital of Greenland” (it’s Nukk in case you’re asked down The Dog and Duck tonight) to the joy when your punt on “the price of a can of Heinz Beans at your local Co-Op” is the 82p you thought it was.

Remember “it’s only a bit of fun” the quizmaster will tell you, save for when you happen to stumble across quiz night while having a quiet drink with your wife and find you have the ‘professional’ eight-strong team on the next table on the ropes. Then it’s serious stuff.

Get the questions right you’re Mastermind material. Get them wrong you’re part of the dullards who groan and declare “well no one is going to get that”.

At least I don’t try to big up my intelligence, as they do on ITV’s highly addictive gameshow The Chase. Hosted by Bradley Walsh, it pits students, pensioners and pregnant mums-to-be against pub quiz eggheads.

The quizzers, or ‘chasers’, win on the whole. No shame in that for their amateur opponents who have lives outside of Wikipedia.

Where there is shame is when a contestant gets a question wrong and, instead of admitting a lack of knowledge, declares “well I made an educated guess”. How getting wrong the currency of Armenia by saying it’s the peso rather than the dram was educated I have no idea. It was merely a guess, not an educated one at all.

The so-called educated guess of TV land has become a bugbear of mine.

But then who am I really to criticise?

I make less than educated guesses all the time – sometimes when it’s not in my best interests.

The facts of the matter are I am 40, I wear glasses and have done for years. So with this in mind – why the heck do I lie in eye tests?

Maybe it’s the competitive streak in me, maybe it’s an in-built and irrational dream that one day I will fox the system and the optician will say “Mr Rhodes, I don’t understand. Your eyes have completely healed themselves and you no longer need to have wire and glass strapped on to your nose.”

When asked what letters I can read I have not changed my tack from when I was a kid and always choose the row below the one I can actually see.

I then squint and go for broke in some bizarre kind of optical version of Bullseye. Of course I’m found out pretty quickly and then pointedly asked to read the line I can actually read. Is it just me or does the line always spell – I D I O T?

But what if one time I struck it lucky and passed the test?

Who really is the winner? Certainly, in the long term, it won’t be my ability to see a computer screen or read a book.

It ain’t educated, it’s pretty darn ridiculous, but like I said from outset I like a good challenge – educated or not.