Parlour Games


In a different life, I used to go to dinner parties.  You remember those: friends got together to eat and drink and talk about the people who weren’t there.  I used to love it when the wine outlasted the dessert and all the boors and bores would hit the road and leave the field to the serious among us.  At really, really good dinner parties, that’s when the parlour games come out.  There are a number of them (I’ve mentioned them here, before) and most are a lot of fun.  One of my favourites is quite simple: everybody takes a turn to wonder out loud about something they’ve never understood.  As the circle gets tighter, the questions get better and can provoke general agreement and/or heated discussion. Either way, most of them are interesting insights into the world around us.  Here are a few of my favourites (as close as I can remember.)

Why can Keanu Reeves be so good in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Matrix and John Wick and suck so badly in everything else?

Does anybody watch regular TV anymore?

Why does everybody win in Vegas — except me?

Why do they teach (3x + 2y) – 12 = (7x + 3y) even though every teacher knows it’s never going to come up in real life???

Why did August get 31 days instead of September?

Why didn’t Darth Vader remember R2D2 and C3P0?

Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the container?

Why do people who say they don’t believe in God, always talk about guardian angels?

How come a pizza can get to my house faster than the cops?

Who cares if a tree falls in the forest?

Why do potatoes have more chromosomes than people do?

How come people who say outlawing guns won’t change anything still think that making drugs illegal will?
How come people who say outlawing drugs won’t change anything still think that making guns illegal will?

Why are brushing your hair and brushing your teeth such totally different activities?

Why do dogs hang their heads out the window of a car moving at 60 kph but hate it when you blow in their faces?

Who owns the Internet?

How does aspirin know the difference between a headache and a sore knee?

Why do tornados always attack trailer parks?

Why, whenever there’s a riot anywhere in the world, are the protest signs always in English?

What is déjà vu “really?”

Is the light at the end of the tunnel that people say they see when they’re about to die, just being born again?  (I think somebody cheated on this one – just sayin’.)

Why didn’t Gandalf just fly Frodo to the top of Mount Doom on the eagles that rescued him?

Is calling it Mother Nature just a sneaky way of saying God?

Why, when adults talk to kids, dogs and old people, do they use the same voice?

Why do light years measure distance, not time?

Why didn’t Samantha Stevens realize she was sleeping with the wrong Darren?

And my personal favourite:

Is Harry Potter just a psychotic kid who made up the whole Hogwarts thing to cope with his miserable life, living under the stairs?


A Few More Activities


It’s May.  The days are getting longer.  OMG, the days are getting longer!  We’ve been running out of things to do since half-past April, and now we’ve got more sunlight to cope with.  God, it’s like news of fresh disasters!  Not to worry, though.  Here are a few activities that will take the sting out of self-isolation.  Enjoy!

Collect all the plastic food containers in your house and spread them out on the floor.  Now, one by one, try to match each container with a lid that fits.  For extra fun, before you start, guess how many lids you’re going to have left over.

Dial random numbers on your telephone.  Since the entire world is in some kind of lockdown, chances are good whoever you call will be home, and they might appreciate the opportunity to make a new friend – or not.  Try to guess which it will be before you call.  However, be careful with the time difference: people tend to be grouchy when you wake them up in the middle of the night just to say hi, and that will upset your results.

Teach yourself how to fold a fitted sheet.  (No cheating with YouTube.)  Fitted sheets are the Rubik’s Cube of bed linen and will provide hours of entertainment before you finally figure it out – if ever.

Pretend you’re a spy and, with a grocery receipt and various food items, try to decode the Bar Code.

Write a letter to your unborn granddaughter, explaining what a bra was.

Find the box of useless souvenirs that’s been in the closet for years.  Identify each one and mail it back to the place of origin with a thank you note.  It’s not like the folks at The Louvre have anything to do these days, and they might be grateful to hear you haven’t forgotten them.  Plus, they can resell the item.  Surely somebody else would love to have a plastic Venus de Milo with a clock in her belly.

Turn off the Internet.  Wait as long as you can possibly stand it.  Try to access Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.  Feel that nanosecond surge of panic when the “Internet cannot be found” message comes on the screen.  Then turn the Internet back on and feel the euphoric relief.  Try it!  It’s kinda like bungee jumping inside your own head.

Check the lyrics on all those great old songs you’ve kinda/sorta forgotten the words to.  Print them out, and while you’re washing your hands, mumble the chorus and then sing the verses really loud.  It will be a whole new thing for you.

Adopt an ungrateful celebrity and explain to them how the real world works.  That should take a while.

And finally:

Try to figure out which Covid-19 conspiracy theory is the most batshit crazy.  You can start with how the 5G network spreads Covid-19 or – no!  wait! – even better! – how this whole thing was caused by some teenagers in Iowa playing Jumanji.

I Wish — The Home Game

i wish

There’s a dinner party game we’ve started playing at our house.  It very simple.  Everyone gets a candle, and everyone gets a bunch of grapes — red grapes in a stemmed glass work best (nudge, nudge/wink, wink.)  You light the candles and turn out the lights.  Then each person, around the table, makes a wish and takes a sip of their grapes.  There are only two rules – 1) After “I wish,” you can’t use the word “I” again and 2) You can’t use anybody else’s wish (not even reworded.)  The first couple of rounds are pretty ordinary – people wish for wealth, health, an end to world poverty – and there’s very little discussion.  However, as the evening wears on and the regular wishes get used up, people start to get creative.  This leads to explanations, questions and some very lively discussion.  Plus, it helps a lot when you have to open a second (or third) bottle of grapes.  Here’s a few recent tidbits — in no particular order.  They’re just ones I remember (somewhat edited) to get you started.

I wish people would stop using the word “authentic” to mean “I’m better than you are.”

I wish Social Media had different levels and a test so all the assholes had to stay with their own group and couldn’t bother the rest of us.

I wish liars would actually have their pants on fire.  It would certainly make elections a lot more interesting.

I wish dogs could talk.  But only when you wanted them to and not like telling the neighbours you pick your nose or haven’t changed your underwear.

I wish celebrities had to tell the truth when they’re interviewed, so we could find out which ones are actually nice, or stupid or whatever in real life.

I wish they’d put warning labels on people the way they do movies.  “This person contains a surly attitude, a malicious disposition and a juvenile sense of entitlement.  Vigilance and avoidance are strongly advised.”

I wish someone would write a decent ending to Game of Thrones.

I wish you could teleport your personality into the microwave so it cooks everything just the way you like it.

I wish college students would pull the stick out their ass and act like kids again.

I wish “iconic” wasn’t even a word.

And finally:

I wish some fictional characters were real — so you could hang out with them and find out what they’re really like.

FYI – If you haven’t guessed already, this is just a drinking game for smart people.