Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Scatterbrained

I hope you’re recovered from whatever debauchery helped you ring in the new year. We celebrated the new year with good food, good friends, and a five-hour marathon of Scattergories until 3:30 in the morning, which is an assigned punishment in some military academies. Since I had consumed more high-fat food than alcohol, I actually remember some of the responses. Of course, most of my answers cataclysmically sucked, since I perform poorly under duress. You probably wouldn’t want me around in the event of a house fire or Jeopardy Lightning Round. (When I am asked to use my brain while a clock ticks down to a nerve-rattling buzzer, it basically implodes. I forget my own phone number, simple multiplication, and where babies come from.)

For those of you unacquainted with the board game Scattergories, here’s a brief description from Board Game Rating: “Name a restaurant, fruit, toy, Halloween costume, and weapon. And make sure all your answers begin with the same initial letter. If "C" is the letter, you might answer Chinese, Cantaloupe, Cap Gun, Clown, and Catapult. But be unique. If your response is the same as an opponent's, you score nothing!”

Oh, and you have three minutes to come up with twelve unique, letter-specific answers. And the game might turn every mild-mannered human being at the table into a viciously competitive, snarling animal.

Let’s begin with some highlights for the letter ‘O.’

Things you might spot on a hike:
I picked “Otters,” which seemed perfectly logical at the time. My best friend jotted down “Orange hat,” which sparked a heated debate about whether adjectives beginning with that round’s letter would count. For instance, one could just as easily see an “Outta-sight pine tree” or “Obnoxious badger” on a hike. New intellectual and interpersonal depths were scraped when people started yelling “Taffy!” for answers that were a ‘real stretch.’

For O-things found in a classroom, I picked “opportunity,” which was resoundingly denied by the rest of the players at the table. I’m still miffed.

Some fruits beginning with the letter 'P':
I drew a blank for a long time, but eventually came up with one. Was it Pineapple? No. Pears, Peaches, or Plums? No. Pomegranate, Papaya, passion fruit, pawpaws, or plaintains? No, no, no, no, and no. In a timed environment with multiple distractions I could only think of one fruit beginning with the letter ‘P:’ Persimmon.

Because they’re such a household fruit and no toddler would be without one, I guess.

Words beginning with the letter ‘L’ and having double letters:
I suppose I could have won extra points with “literally,” but the first word to leap to my battered mind was “Little.” I figured everyone else at the table would also come up with ‘Little,” so I scribbled “Leery.” I was swiftly challenged by the two teachers at the table, who were convinced it was actually spelled “leary.”

Colors beginning with the letter 'F':
Creative genius that I am, I promptly chose the same color as everyone else at the table: Fuchsia. Extra credit to my friend Leeann for coming up with “Fart brown.” And would you believe one of the categories for the letter ‘F’ was “four letter words?”

I picked “farm.”

Not really.

Things beginning with the letter ‘N’ that you find in a diner:
The guy nicknamed “Bingo” came up with “Soup.” I, playing correctly, chose “Nickels.” “Nickels” appeared earlier in the round for Things you find in the White House. When challenged, the nickel-chooser responded, “I’m sure someone in the White House has a nickel in their wallet!”

He was promptly pelted with crudités.

Things beginning with the letter ‘C’ that relate to money:
I didn’t pick “coins” or “currency,” which I can now see are appropriate answers. (Because there is no clock ticking.) What did I pick? Community Chest. When challenged by another player, I eloquently replied, “Dude! Not only does this refer to Monopoly money, but I just read about the origins of the community chest. It has something to do with money and World War II.” Opposing player, with a blank stare: “Like what?” Me, after a long pause: “Just something with World War II, okay?”

I’d make a great lawyer, don’t you think?

Beverages beginning with the letter ‘C':
“That Mexican beer.” (I’m ashamed to admit that I actually wrote that down.)

My favorite segment of the game was the last round, which featured the letter 'K' and a table full of drunk, exhausted, yet still unusually competitive players. Here are two of my answers:

Things that are black: "Koala’s a--hole"

Type of dance: "Knuckle shuffle"

And my friend Cindy’s K-word for Term of Endearment: "Keeper."

Guess what her new nickname is?

32 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:01 PM

    You and I are cosmically connected. We played Scattergories on New Year's Eve too! And I also go blank when playing this game, but I still love it. The one I'm still flogging myself for is:
    Something round that begins with the letter C.
    Of the five of us playing, only ONE of us had an answer: Circle. DUH!!!!!
    Let's play Taboo next year. I'm better at that...
    Happy New Year!!!

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  2. Anonymous4:08 PM

    That game sounds entirely too stressful for me. I too cannot perform (games) under pressure.

    BTW... Leary is a term that refers to people who behave in an angry comdedic style.

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  3. Damn. We played Scattergories too but your game sounded way more creative than ours. I blame my teetotaling brother who thus spawned an alcohol drought.

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  4. Anonymous4:54 PM

    I LOVE Scattergories! This probably has less to do with the game and more to do with the fact that I once TROUNCED my best friend's arrogant husband at the game, three times in a row. He was one of those obnoxious people who read THE BELL CURVE back in the 1990's, got to the page where it said, "If you've read this far, you're smarter than 94% of America" and actually believed it. I think he even added it to his resume. Needless to say, it was delightful fun to best him at something that really matters, like word games :)

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  5. Mmmmm....love word games! I haven't played Scattergories, but Balderdash and Taboo are two of my faves. Plus the old stand-bys like Boggle and Scrabble.

    I think yesterday would have been significantly less painful if I'd be playing Scattergories the night before - or any other word game for that matter.

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  6. Anonymous7:20 PM

    Scattergories! I am so good at Scattergories, unless I'm playing against my husband who is some sort of mutant, word-game winning freak. Don't play against him, that's all I'm saying.

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  7. Anonymous7:56 PM

    Have you seen the Saturday Night Live Jeopardy skit? You post reminded me of that - funny!

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  8. I am as Scattergories-impaired as you are. I have decided it's a sign of super-intelligence. You are welcome to steal my justification for it if you'd like. :)

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  9. Heh, stressful but fun, it sounds like. "Koala's a--hole." Hilarious.

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  10. Hi friend--it's late, so I am not going to get sucked in to the wonderful prose of Riley tonight, but will be back to read! Happy New Year! Miss ya!

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  11. Anonymous5:58 AM

    Merry merry New Year!

    I had oatmeal coming out my nose at your first paragraph. Wisely, I put down the spoon (advice I could have used many, many meals ago) and continued reading. I LOVE that game (Balderdash too) - some of the answers have become stand-alone running jokes that stuck with us for years.

    I will be using the 'Taffy' penalty call. Oh yes. And, let me know if you'd like a pocket-size memory chart on where babies come from.

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  12. Fart brown...that's brilliant. I've always wondered what colour farts are.

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  13. Those teachers should be ashamed -- of course it's "leery." (I even looked it up to be sure.)

    "Koala's asshole" is sheer genius.

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  14. I love Scattergories. I played 6 rounds with my wife and beat her by 1 point each time. But she beat me at Trivial Pursuit, so I guess were even.

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  15. LOL! We played Scattergories on Christmas Eve and we weren't nearly as entertaining as your group. We didn't have enough to drink to come up with Koala's Asshole or Fart Brown. Like you, thinking under pressure is a real drag. No, you aren't a drag - thinking under pressure is...

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  16. My wife loves Scattergories. I play, but grow tired after 2 rounds.

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  17. Things in the White House that start with the letter "N"? Nutjobs.

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  18. LMAO! That is my favorite game... Although I don't think I've had nearly as much fun as you guys had. I think I'm playing with the wrong crowd. When's the next party? :D

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  19. "opportunity"!

    Good one.

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  20. Playing Scattergories on New Year's must be THE thing to do because that's what we did too. And yeah, I completely blank out on simple common words when I'm under pressure like that. It's no secret that I lost the game, and pretty badly at that.

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  21. Happy New Year.

    I love scattegories. And I hear you about stressful. Sounds like fun though.

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  22. I LURVE scattergories with a passion. Fart brown is FOR SURE a color, you can't deny it. Hahaha. I would have loved to attend that gathering.

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  23. I can't tell you the last time I played Scattergories. We got into a habit of playing Worst Case Scenario which is surprisingly educational and this really fun game called Zobmando where you have to debate the merits of doing two equally awful or disgusting things and get the rest of the group to agree. The conversations that ensue are freaking hilarious.

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  24. Anonymous11:59 AM

    lol! is Persimmon seriously a fruit? I have no idea...

    that games sounds like fun!

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  25. Did anyone smoke up before playing?

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  26. I should warn you- I am a board game queen. Thus my dorkdom is assured.

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  27. That game sounds totally fun. I've actually never played it before. I think I have something new to add to my Amazon wishlist...

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  28. Anonymous9:21 AM

    I love a good game night.

    (And this one sounded exceptionally good.)

    And hey, I thought "opportunity" was a fabulous answer!

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  29. Anonymous9:21 AM

    I love a good game night.

    (And this one sounded exceptionally good.)

    And hey, I thought "opportunity" was a fabulous answer!

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  30. I can't even imagine how fun it must be to play this game with you. Although the whole Koala thing is more than mildly disturbing. Points for really dark creativity.

    Hi from down under where winter is in danger of proving Al Gore right.

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  31. UUmmmm....I happen to think that "Opportunity" was brilliant - and the rest of them were jealous. I kind of think that it's bullshit and I'm a bit miffed as well.

    Tell them I'm calling the gay mafia right now to see what can be done...or redecorated.

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  32. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Ok Ok...I was one of the teachers who thought leery was leary, but hey it was 3:30am and I hadn't had that much to drink in a LONG time. I don't think I could have spelled my name at that point. I fortunately have all the scorecards and plan on bringing them out someday again! It was a great game and being in the classroom Jess, yes, opportunity is surely there. Sorry I was "leery" of that answer...was I one of the contestants who disagreed? Um, seem to have blanked out on that one.

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