I think I’m hard-wired to make a game out of nearly everything.
If Jocelyn asks me to grab a new roll of paper towels, I will, but only if she yells, “180! Set! Hike!” and I’m able to hike them across the kitchen. Like, why would anyone just hand over something they can hike?
I’m also not interested in dropping something in the trash when I can just as easily juke around a bit before executing a banana peel jump shot.
When I’m waiting in the ice machine line at work, I peruse the vending options to the left and make myself choose the three items I’d live on for one month, if I had to. I thoughtfully scan and ponder, immediately ruling out anything sweet (I’d rather eat a sock than a honeybun.) It never fails; I always pick pretzels, beef jerky and anything with “Flamin’” in the name.
Sometimes on my commute home from work, when my mind is wandering, I’ll tell myself that triplets will be on my doorstep and I have to figure their names out NOW. I’m not giving any of you free-loaders my ideas—you can name your own triplets—but I will tell you that my three cuties would not all share the same first letter.
I’ve found that others aren’t always as eager to play my random games.
“So which Property Brother would you pick?”
“I don’t know. Just in general.”
“Because I need to know.”
“Well you have to tell me what for because obviously I’d pick one for my realtor and the other for my builder.”
“Not for that! I mean, like, if you were gonna play Twister with Baby Oil.”
I also like to spend time thinking about whether I’d rather be an Olympian or a professional athlete—and what my specialty would be. A quarterback? Pitcher? Wide receiver? Golfer? Tennis player? Would I want to do the uneven bars? Synchronized diving? I weigh out the pros and cons of each, considering travel schedule, chance for failure, injury rate, income and possible endorsements.
Side Note: I also consider uniforms, and because female Olympic swimmers have been saddled with unflattering suits (and unsightly swim caps), I’ve ruled out trying to medal in the 400 butterfly.
It’s disappointing to play with someone who just blurts out an unthoughtful answer.
“NFL quarterback for sure!”
“Really? Have you considered all the hours of film you’ll need to watch of other teams? Will it bother you to snug your hands up to that big’ol booty 100x a game? Are you prepared to take the blame for the failures of an entire multimillion dollar organization?”
“Oh. Ok then, I guess golf.”
“Yeah? Are you sure? Are you willing to endure a lifetime of shoulder and hip issues once you make your millions?”
Side Note: Actually, now that I think about, maybe I’m the one who is disappointing to play with.
My desire to play games goes back many years. I used to get my teammates—in high school and college—to pay me to eat concoctions at team meals. They could not believe what I’d ingest or how often they were swindled into handing over their money. They’d mix together Ketchup, sugar, salt, Dr. Pepper, ice cream and then dunk a half-eaten hamburger bun it in.
No problem. GULP. Pay up, Losers. I was very good at this game until about five years ago.
We had a big family dinner at our house, and one of the appetizers was shrimp cocktail. We arranged it on ice, in a circle, with a bowl of cocktail sauce in the center.
Everyone devoured the shrimp pretty early and then moved on to other foods. The night went on and right before everyone left, my dad said he’d give me $20 to take a big drink of the ice that had melted into water. I was like, “You’re going to PAY me to drink melted ice?”
I felt kinda bad for him, wondering why he was just wanting to give away money with no real pay-off for him. I chalked it up to him being less seasoned than I and just not knowing the scope of my capabilities—poor guy.
I moved the bowl of cocktail sauce, picked up the platter and tilted it to my mouth, still feeling sorry for my sweet dad who just didn’t get it.
I took a big swig and immediately started aggressively heave-gagging and fighting with all my might not to throw up the surprisingly warm and shockingly pungent FISH WATER. My eyes were running with tears and my dad—oh so victoriously—handed me $20.
I couldn’t eat shrimp until last year—and it’s still not a sure thing.
Most of my friends know that if we’re going to spend time together, there is going to be some game-playing. “Would You Rather” is a shoe-in because it can be big fun in its G-rated-niece-and-nephew-version or its X-rated-my-friends-are-perverted-perverts version.
“Hey Sweet Pea, would you rather have super lush, gorgeous hair, but it’s cobalt blue or two noses, but one is on your tummy?”
“Hey Dirty Bird, would you rather …”
Side Note: Ok, what I nearly wrote is not fit for upstanding citizens or a blogger whose mom teaches Sunday School.
Bonus Side Note: If we’re playing WYR and you answer “neither” to my question, you are dead to me.
My brother and I decided that people will do anything for the right amount of money. We, not very creatively, call this game “How Much.” The idea is that someone will hand you the exact amount of money you demand for a particular task or activity.
A couple of easy examples:
- How much would it take for you to swim across that swamp at dusk?
- How much would it take for you to get a tattoo on your shoulder—in comic sans font—that says, “Soaring On The Wings Of A Gluten-Free Diet?”
You can learn a WHOLE lot about people when playing this game—sometimes to the detriment of your once-high opinion of them.
Where you might demand $1,200 to reach into a garbage can and eat some tossed out french fries, your friend might wave it off like, “Oh please, I’d do it for twenty bucks—I’ve eaten stranger’s left-overs off a room service tray at the Hampton Inn.”
All I’m saying is, make sure your friendship is strong before you dive into “How Much.” You are likely to find people are much grosser—and way more sexually adventurous—than you once thought.
Often times, in bigger work meetings, I try to decide who I’d pick as my conjoined twin (if I had to). My first thought is usually, “Uh, none of them.” Then I remind myself that I have to play the game or lose two fingers. Next thing I know, I’m staring a hole through Jake and wondering if he’d be handy around the house.
After the meeting:
Lauren: You were looking at me funny, were you wanting me to bring up our issues with the new system?
Me: The system? Oh, no, I was just wondering if being attached at the neck would hurt our friendship.
Playing games alone isn’t as much fun as playing with a close co-worker.
Me: (quietly and discreetly) Who, from that whole row, would you kiss—if you had to?
Co-worker: Ugh, I don’t know—gross! I don’t want to kiss any of them!
Me: Of course you don’t—none of us do—but you have to.
Co-worker: So, the row that Gina’s on?
Co-worker: Ugh, really? Why … why them?!
Me: Because this PowerPoint has about 90 hours left, so GO.
Co-worker: Grrr, I guess Craig.
Me: CRAIG?! Why?!
Co-worker: I don’t know, he seems tender.
Me: Tender? Gross. You’re not a porcelain figurine!
Co-worker: I don’t know—I guess he has nice lips.
Me: Oh. My. Gosh. You’re in love with Craig!
Co-worker: Well it’s not like I planned it—it’s news to me, too!
Honestly, I can’t imagine not finding ways to make each day more fun. Life is too short to not use your turn-around jumper to get socks into the dirty clothes hamper … or see if you can shave five minutes off your morning routine. Why go through a day without asking someone, “Would you rather have a hearse for a car or a tree house for a home?” Just don’t ask suggestive questions about Judge Judy or Bill Clinton unless you’re really prepared to hear the answer. (Please trust me on this one.)
I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.