Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy questions I encounter at the library reference desk.
A gentleman called the desk with a pretty simple question: What was the release date of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines? Because of my prodigious ability to remember useless trivia (film-related especially), I knew it was 2003. But he wanted the specific release date, which IMDb told me was July 2. I thought that would be the end of the call, but it… wasn’t.
Here is the sequence of questions that followed:
- Who was the lead actress in Rise of the Machines? (Kristanna Loken)
- How old is she? (36)
- What is her hometown? (Ghent, New York)
- What is the per capita income of Ghent, NY ($37,643 in 2014) [Thanks, U.S. Census!]
- What is Ghent’s percentage of white people? (94.5%)
- What is Ghent’s percentage of black people? (1.6%)
- What is the release date of Terminator Genisys? (July 1, 2015)
- What is Ghent’s poverty level? (5.4%)
The thing I couldn’t figure out while answering these questions was whether this line of inquiry was pre-determined or if he started winging it after the first one. I got the sense he was pulling questions from a list since our back-and-forth moved along at a steady clip. But if that was the case, why bounce around between the Terminator movies and Ghent, NY? If he planned the jump between the two topics, by way of Kristanna Loken, why the sudden incursion of Terminator Genisys?
UPDATE: He called back an hour later with more. Still on a Terminator kick, he wanted to know:
- Who was the female lead of the first two Terminators? (Linda Hamilton)
- Is she still alive? (Yes)
- Where is she from? (Salisbury, Maryland)
- Where is that? (Between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic)
- What has she done lately? (Most recent movie is A Sunday Horse)
- What is that film about? (“After a near-fatal accident, on a horse the experts thought was nothing special, a determined rider from the wrong side of the tracks defies all the odds to pursue her dreams of winning a national jumping championship.”)
Yep, he’s definitely just winging these.