Game On!

Yesterday Jamie Leigh Curtis was on Martha, and she talked about how her family bonds over games.

Mostly, my family gets mad over games, then stalks off to our respective rooms and slams the door.

My mom will never, ever get tired of telling the story of how she beat my dad at Chinese checkers, so he threw the whole game away.

When I was fifteen, I was banned from playing Rummikub--by my GRANDMA--because I would win all the time. Well, I'm SORRY; I thought the OBJECT of the GAME was to WIN! Though I will admit that I did play dirty ... but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! Flesh and blood notwithstanding!

We've always been a game-playing family. This goes back to the days when we didn't have a television and had to create our own fun.

Joon and I were cutthroat Candyland players from the beginning, but we had to quit when I got in trouble for throwing the Gingerbread Men playing pieces across the room when I got sent to the Taffy Swamp (or whatever that is).

When we got our first Chutes and Ladders game, I didn't understand that riding on a chute was not really a good thing, because in my limited experience, going down a huge slide was super-fun!

Whenever we played Battleship, I would move my boats all around even after the game had started. I should state here that I am actually pretty ethical in real life, but all bets are off once the gameboard is open.

We got pretty big into Guess Who for a while. Frankly, I don't like that game too much because Joon always wins. I do like the sound that is made when you start slapping the faces down, though.

And then, when we had moved on to The Game of Life, I used to cheat, and somehow make it so I always landed on the spaces where you had kids, because more kids=more money at the end of the game. (I don't know how that relates to Actual Life).

After that, we became some Boggle-playing freaks. I love that game, mostly because there is a big noise whenever you shake all the pieces around in that plastic box.

My mom finally bought another Chinese checkers board, and she played with Joon and me, but my dad never did. Ever.

In the 80s, my aunt Jane gave us Trivial Pursuit. Y'all. That is the best game ever! We still have it, even though it is like, twenty years old and the board has literally broken in half (it is held together with black electrical tape: classy!). We don't play the original very often, having moved on to the 80s Edition and the 90s Edition and the Pop Culture DVD Edition (Who's the champ? Ahem ... I don't want to brag ...).

Last year, Joon got Scene It, which EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY IT'S AWESOME. Of course, I am not allowed to play it anymore, because of the time when I challenged everyone to a Me vs. You Game. I won't tell you how it ended up, but Joon got all mad and now she never brings it over.

We had some games that we didn't really play, like Operationor Perfectionor Mousetrapor Kerplunk. These games were mostly about the noise, and we would play them for all of four seconds before my mom would stomp into the room and throw us outside.

I remember when Joon and I would get really bored, we would make up our own games. Usually we would do races: run down the hall, do a somersault on the bed, jump up and down five times, find the word salt in the dictionary, put toothpaste on your toothbrush, turn around three times, crabwalk backwards down the hall, crawl like a seal to the door, grab the doorknob, aaaaand you're finished! We could do this for hours, HOURS, I tell you! My mom would get so much done!

My dad also made up games. Our favorite, that the whole neighborhood would play, is called Whoever Misses This. There would be, like, forty kids outside our building, and my dad would say, "Whoever Misses This is a slug crawling down the sidewalk, leaving your nasty slug trail behind, but oh! What's this? Oh no! You just CRAWLED INTO SOME SALT and now you're a disintegrating slug all oozy and gross and now the ants are coming out to EAT YOUR GUTS!" Then he would throw a ball into the air and call a name. My dad could throw the ball really high, and if you missed, you had to try and tag someone with the ball or else you'd be that disgusting slug and everyone would point and describe your guts. It was kind of like S-P-R-I-T-E, except SO MUCH BETTER.

The one game that I totally wish Joon and I would have copyrighted and marketed is What's That From? We invented it on a road trip one time. My family watches a lot--a LOT--of movies, and so we have a huuuge cache to draw from. What you do is quote a line from a movie and then say, "What's That From?" My favorite one, that I do every time and Joon never remembers, is "Heavy. What's That From?" But Joon always comes back with a quote from Follow Me Boys, and the only thing I remember about that movie is the sheepshank knot.

Anyway, we were in the Discovery Store one time, and there was a real game, in a box and everything, called What's That From? Somebody totally stole our idea! That is thievery! That is illegal! That is ... not fair!

Joon and I are still inventing games, even though we are 28 and 30 and should probably be too worldly and sophisticated for such nonsense now.

Still, I am looking forward to some good game-playing this Christmas.

If I'm allowed to play, that is.

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