Monday, February 11, 2008

Scattergories anyone?

I have heard it said time and again, by folks with white hair and wisdom to spare, that nothing divides a family like property. Disputes over property can make brother hate brother and poison the waters for generations to come. I own the truth of this sentiment, but may I venture to suggest that there is an even greater evil out there? My family has been ravaged by it. It is too late for us, but pay attention and this post could well be the salvation of your family.
Visualize a noisy family get together. Nieces and aunts gossip cheerily. Venerable uncles beam genially. Close family friends crack a joke or two. You get the picture. All is joy and bonhomie. Then someone suggests that we bond further by playing a board game or two. A chorus of eager voices suggest a plethora of games - each family member strenuously advocating the particular game that he or she shines in. The game that was picked that dark night is called Scattergories.
We played in pairs. It started innocently enough. The 26-sided dice was rolled. We frantically filled our lists. The timer rang out. And all hell broke loose. As the entries were called out, team by team, the room was in an uproar. Everyone accused everyone else of being a filthy cheat. Aunts questioned the loose moral fibre of their nieces. Cousins averred that their cousins had received an education so minimal that it made one gasp and stretch one's eyes. The second round began in grim silence. Sullenly the lists were filled out again. If possible, this time was worse. People hopped around in frustration. Cries of nepotism rent the air. For an entry of a 'bad habit' starting with the letter 'M', a young boy filled in 'Monkey fucking'. When challenged by his rather shocked elderly father, he argued vociferously. When it was clear he would not be getting the point, he mumbled something about bringing a monkey home under his breath. The room smelled of desperation and fury. Incidents long forgotten and sweetly forgiven were dredged up from their graves and cast about as proof of poor character. Should a microwave be considered a cooking utensil? Think world war two and you would be scratching the surface.
Our family was never the same again. An aunt who used to be all sweetness and light is now given to hissing 'Microwave' under her breath when she is confronted by her brother in law. A cousin looks strangely an monkeys. I gaze at the ravaged landscape of our family with tear filled eyes and wish that we had had a few acres of land to cordially dislike each other over instead.

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