Sunday, January 9, 2011

Don't Hassel the Hoff

There was a moment this Christmas when it sort of hit me: The woman who used to call herself my mother is no longer with us. The conservative, opinionated, christian with a capital CHRISTIAN children's minister has died. Or evaporated. Or retired. Or gone to live on a farm where there's plenty of room for her to run around and play with others of her kind. The point is, she's left us.

And I, for one, am glad.

This is not to say that she was intolerable before...or that she's particularly tolerable now. No, this is just say that when she yelled, "Oh shit, I can't think of any lesbians!" I thought, Some things have gotten better since I moved out ten years ago. And you're one of em.

We were playing a game brought to us by my sister-in-law, Kim. Group games are not really something we do. Mostly, because we are a deeply lazy people. We do not chase after or in any way aggressively pursue fun. We get together, we drink, and we laugh...mostly at ourselves. Games bespeak organization, rule following, and creativity. We do not. But, as I said, at our core, we are deeply lazy; and the only thing more arduous than playing a fucking game would have been trying to convince Kim not to play a fucking game.

It goes like this... Everyone writes down the name of seven people, dead or alive, not so obscure as to be unknown.

My brother explains, "So, like don't write down the Attorney General or someone like that who half of us aren't going to be able to figure out." My uncle crumples up a piece of paper with Eric Holder scrawled on it.

Teams of three are formed. Everyone looks at his or her team and says some variation of, "Seriously? I have to play with you two? Well, we're screwed now." Everyone is pretty much right.

During the first round, your team has one minute to guess as many names as they can. You can give as many clues as you like.

I start with, "He was the first Black president."
My brother guesses, "Obama."
"No, the one before Obama. Blacker than Obama."
"Oh, Bill Clinton."

It behooves you to remember who all is guessed in this first round, because during the second round, all the same non-Eric Holder people are going back into the bowl, you have one minute to guess as many as you can, but the person giving clues can only say one word.

My sister yells, "Monica."
My dad snaps back, "Slick Willy!"

And all this nonsense is just a long, drunken excuse to get to the third round. Here, all the names are recycled yet again, but the person giving clues has to act them out.

My uncle moonwalks. (Sorta.)
His teams yells, "Michael Jackson."

My sister pretends to be fat and stuck in a bathtub.
Her team is largely silent. When she's done, they ask, "What the hell was that?"
"Harry Truman," she says.
"You moron," my brother barks, "you just acted out William Howard Taft."
"Ohhh, I wondered why no one was getting it."

And then, we come to the piece de resistance of drunken charades. My brother's fiance, Erin, picks David Hasselhoff out of the bowl. She begins running in slow motion, pretending to hold a flotation device. The crowd goes wild. We (almost) all figure it out immediately. Her teammate, my mother, however, is completely befuddled. In spite of the fact that David Hasselhoff was named in rounds one and two, and the fact that she's now watching a reenactment of the opening credits to the greatest lifeguard drama to ever grace the small screen, my mom has no fucking idea what's going on.

Erin decides to kick it up a notch. She throws my sister-in-law, Kim, to the ground and begins to drag her limp body across the carpet, as if she's saving her from drowning. My mom starts to name famous wrestlers. And then dead people. Erin starts doing chest compressions. It looks just like everyone but my mother. To my mother, it looks like Erin is fondling Kim's breasts. When she starts mouth to mouth resuscitation, Mom is convinced this is girl on girl sex. "Oh shit," she yells, "I can't think of any lesbians!" And with that, her minute is up. You've never seen someone so disappointed to lose a point in a game she didn't want to play in the first place.

As it turns out, gay sex reenactments in the middle of the living room floor on Jesus' birthday only bother her when she can't figure out who's on top.