SHARONVILLE, OH—Shawn Gause, 34, a Cincinnati-area resident and bar-trivia champion, is a real dick about his trivia prowess, patrons of McSorley's Pub reported Tuesday.
"I used to look forward to Monday trivia nights," bar patron Christine Deroia said. "But not since Mr. I-Win-All-The-Time-And-Am-A-Royal-Asshole-About-It started coming around. God, that guy burns me up."
Gause first visited McSorley's on March 4 after hearing brother-in-law Douglas Lang mention the bar's weekly trivia night. He decided to participate, Gause said, to "show them how it's done."
"I'm way into trivia," said Gause, an associate manager at Fast & Reliable Electricians. "No, let me correct that. I am the Trivia Master, the undisputed King Of Knowledge. Anything about baseball, don't even bother asking. Name a Beatles song, I'll tell you the year it came out and what album it's on. History, literature, pop culture... you name it, I am The Man."
A popular hangout for clerical and maintenance employees at nearby Bethesda North Hospital, McSorley's purchased its trivia-network computer system and tabletop consoles in 1997. Players form four-person teams and compete for points by answering multiple-choice questions displayed on the bar's three TV sets.
Gause, who has not missed a trivia night since his March 4 debut, quickly earned the enmity of his fellow bar patrons.
"Shari [Messner]'s team actually dropped out because this jerk made them so nervous with his super-competitiveness," Deroia said. "Whenever somebody misses a question, he cackles this really loud, horribly grating cackle. And if it's an easy question, he'll be like, 'How could anybody not know that?' Everybody else is just trying to have fun, but he treats it like it's the friggin' Super Bowl."
According to Deroia, Gause's arrival on the scene spoiled several good-natured, longtime rivalries.
"Before Shawn messed everything up, it was fun to see how The A-Team was going to do against Triviazilla. Or whether Bengals Suck would whip We All Love Don," Deroia said. "Now, me and the other gals on The Know-It-Alls don't even have a good time when we play against our husbands on The Avengers. We're all too busy being annoyed by that cocksucker."
Gause has antagonized nearly every person at McSorley's, including Larry Olberding, his friend and former teammate on the Knights Of The Bar Table.
"I tried to tell Shawn that it's all for fun," Olberding said. "Everyone likes to get into it and yell and cheer, but no one really cares who wins. They just want to hang out and have a good time. My God, it's trivia. Has that fact escaped him?"
Gause's constant running commentary, bar patrons say, ranks among his most irritating habits. As soon as each question appears, he gives his opinion of its difficulty level, snorting derisively and saying "Eeeasy," for simple questions. If the question is more difficult, he makes grunting sounds and then says, "That's a good one."
"After every answer is revealed, he has to give some related trivia tidbit to show how smart he is," said Patrick Baugh of the Wassup?!? team. "Like, at one point, they asked, 'Who played Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind?' So when Vivien Leigh is posted on the screen as the answer, he says, 'Originally, the Scarlett role was supposed to go to Bette Davis.' Because, I guess, just knowing that Vivien Leigh played Scarlett O'Hara isn't impressive enough."
Due to his competitive nature, Gause has had to recruit new teammates each week.
"[Gause] usually convinces a few suckers to play with him so they can get in on the $40 bar tab for the winners," waitress Laurie Gibson said. "But then he gives them so much shit when they get questions wrong, they always eventually quit. I don't blame them."
Though bargoers have cherished the few times Gause has lost, cheering wildly and mobbing the winning team, he is even more unbearable in defeat.
"For, like, an hour after he loses, everyone has to hear this big litany of excuses why he lost: The questions were stupid, he wasn't trying, his console wasn't working... you name it," Baugh said. "Just admit you were beaten fair and square, you stupid, annoying, pompous... trivia dick."
Though Gause's fellow McSorley's patrons used to criticize him only behind his back, they no longer hold their comments until he exits the bar. On Monday, when Gause was once again victorious, a voice from the bar's rear yelled, "Leave and never come back. No one wants you here."
Embarrassed to be the person who first brought Gause to the bar, Lang has attempted to distance himself from his brother-in-law. The last several weeks, Lang has either skipped Trivia Night or sat silently in the back of the bar and avoided him.
"Last week, this group of women started throwing ice cubes at Shawn," Lang said. "When he just ignored it, some guys reached behind the bar and started chucking entire handfuls at him. Finally, Shawn stands up and says, 'I'm so on fire tonight, I could use a cooling-off.' So he takes one of the ice cubes that went down his shirt and pops it in his mouth. I've tried to talk to him, but he's just determined to be a jackass."