The Games People Flay

17 Sep

If you’ve read any of my other blog entries you may find this difficult to believe, but I have friends.

No, really.

Stop laughing.

Two of my oldest and best friends, both of whom are named Chris, have been tolerating me since High School.  When we were younger, we would do all sorts of stupid, albeit nerdy, shit together, but those are subjects of future blog entries.  As we all got older and, more importantly, married, we started playing party games whenever we got together.

And that, my friends, is the subject of today’s blog entry.

I am not talking about drinking games, for you see, none of us drank.  No, I am talking about your standard run-of-the-mill, very tame party games.  Ones which do not involve the loss of any motor function or the removal of any articles of clothing.  Games like Charades, Taboo and Pictionary,

Oh my, how I loved Pictionary…

The problem, however, was that my wife Karrie and I were way too good at it.  We would almost always win, and were frequently accused of cheating because of this.  But I swear we never cheated; we just know each other very, very well.  I think the best example of how ridiculous we were was when I had to draw “David and Goliath”.  I drew the following:


And Karrie guessed it on the first shot, blurting it out before I was even finished drawing.

Sadly, nobody wanted to play Pictionary with us after that, and so we were forced to move onto other games.  Over the years, we experimented with many, but two of our absolute favorites were called Beyond Balderdash and Wise and Otherwise.

The gameplay for both of these games is very similar, the only difference being the content of the cards.  I’ll start with Beyond Balderdash, and explain the basic premise.  Each player gets a pad of paper and a pencil.  One of the players draws a card, and reads an entry from it.  These entries fall into five categories “Words”, “People”, “Initials”, “Movies” or “Dates”.  Each player has to write down either a) The actual meaning of the word/who the person is/what the initials stand for/etc. for the entry that was read, or b) A believable lie.  The player that read the card writes down the actual answer on their pad, collects all the other slips of paper, shuffles them and, finally, reads them.  Players then vote on which of these they believe to be correct, for you see, that is how you get points.  If anyone votes for yours, you get a point.

If you look back at most of my submissions, many of which I kept, you would be absolutely convinced that I missed the entire point of this game.  I didn’t try to garner the true essence of any of the items that were read to me, nor did I make any attempt at believability, as is illustrated by the following typical submission:



As you can see, my attention to detail slips a bit when I only have a minute to work with.  But if you can get beyond the poor spelling and horrible handwriting, you may notice that three people voted for my submission.  It is important to remind you here that none of us were drunk.  These were three fully-grown adults in complete control of their facilities.  Based upon these results, it would appear that I could make up the wildest crap, and people would actually believe it anyway.

Any of you readers that are salespeople are probably laughing at me right now.

Anyhow, I used this tactic to great effect over the years, and won many games.  I used not even a single thread of truth to weave a fabric of lies, which I used to sew a hood of deception to slip over the heads of my unsuspecting victims.

I was an unstoppable force in the world of party gaming.

That was… until one fateful day, when one of the Chris’s drew a card with the word “Cockatush” on it.  That’s when things took a sharp turn for the worse.  You see, there’s a fine line here that cannot be crossed.  On one side of that line is creative, and surprisingly believable pretense.  And on the other side are fabrications that, while amusing, are only believable to to people who have recently suffered blunt head trauma.  But what was I supposed to do?  I am not made of stone!

I kept the original slip of paper from the game so that, many years from now, archeologists can unearth it and use it to show precisely where my downfall began:



Yeah, I know I spelled Cockatoo wrong.  Don’t rub it in.

I only got one vote there, and I am honestly not sure how that’s even possible.  The person responsible for reading it was unable to read the entire submission out loud without collapsing into a giggle-fit despite the fact that it was only five words.

And, that’s not the worst of it.  I blame Cockatush for ruining the game for me.  From that point on, for me, all entries no matter what they were, somehow involved the nether regions of exotic birds…



I had hit rock-bottom.  A voteless entry.  A truly sad day…



Aw, c’mon!  That sounded believable!

This pattern spilled over into our other favorite game Wise and Otherwise.  As I said, this game is played in almost exactly the same way.  The difference was that instead of the five categories on each card, there were five partial “old sayings”.  So, for instance, one of the choices might be “There’s an old saying: A bird in the hand…”, and everyone has to finish the saying.

With the right group of people, this game is obnoxiously fun.  With the wrong group of people, you get entries like this:



Although my words rang true, it would seem that I was doomed to remain vote-less.  Shortly after the game with that submission, we stopped playing.  We grew apart, they stopped calling, moved away, changed their names, etc.

No, seriously, we still see each other, but don’t play these kinds of games anymore.  This is mainly due to the fact that most of us have kids now and, for obvious reasons, don’t feel that it’s appropriate to play these games around them. (“Daddy?  What’s a Cockatush?”)

Heed me readers.  If you play games like these, don’t fall into the trap.  Learn from my sad example. 
Nobody could have predicted the impact that a single word would have on the promising career of a talented party gamer.

Go figgum.

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Posted by on September 17, 2008 in Memory Lane


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