At Some Point I Really Need To Write An Existentialist Short Story Entitled “Keep In Mind That The Closest Exit May Be Behind You”
I’m struggling to play catch-up here at work (as well as readjust to the fact that I’m no longer surrounded by woods and lobster and this large thing next to my chair isn’t a cooler full of Blue Moon but rather a filing cabinet full of . . . things I should know more about than I do). But I think one quick story can about sum up the weekend:
Saturday night, The Girlfriend’s friends and family and I sat down after barbecue and drinks to play a board game called Zobmondo!!. Really, there’s little point to the game other than to pose inane “Would you rather . . .” questions to one another within a minimal structure that allows you to do so without having to actually say, “How about we all sit down and ask each another ‘Would you rather . . .’ questions?” which is one of those things that really everyone enjoys doing, but would never admit to a crowd. So we set up five teams of two and each team draws a card with five “Would you rather . . .” questions written on it. They then read the question in the color corresponding to what color space they are on the board (much like trivial pursuit). Then the team reading the question has to guess how everyone else will answer.
The game is rolling along and the questions are innocent enough (Would you rather swallow a golf ball or pee out a marble? Would you rather drink Mexican tap water or water from a hot tub after a frat party?) until The Girlfriend decides that the game is too “structured” and we should just pick a card and read the best question, colors be damned. So when it comes to The Girlfriend’s friend Ann and her husband David, everyone watches as they scan the card saying, “No, not that one, boring, OH YES THAT ONE!” We get excited in anticipation of the question and also because we are drunk and drunks are easily excitable, especially about board games with not one but TWO exclamation points in the title.
Finally, Ann reads the question, and quite loudly in fact, as though she were unsure of herself and thought the best thing to do would be feign confidence with increased volume:
“WOULD YOU RATHER BE CAUGHT MASTURBATING BY YOUR MOTHER OR CATCH YOUR MOTHER MASTURBATING?”
There is a stunned silence after just hearing the word “masturbation” said rather loudly in the company of The Girlfriend’s parents. Everyone is shifting and laughing awkwardly and saying, just to get it over with quickly, “Definitely the first one, you know, being caught.” People unrelated to the family are nervously scanning the relatives, running the family tree of possible combinations through their mind:
The Girlfriend being caught by her Mother, The Girlfriend catching her Mother.
The Girlfriend’s sister being caught by her Mother, The Girlfriend’s sister catching her Mother.
The Girlfriend’s brother being caught by his mother, The Girlfriend’s brother catching his mother . . .
until finally the discussion is coming to a close and The Girlfriend’s father, who has said little during the entire game thus far, speaks up and says, “Well I’m pretty sure I’d rather be caught myself, than, you know, catch your grandmother . . .” The room erupts at the unveiling of the one combination that everyone’s respective subconscious had been protecting them from. The Girlfriend hits me on the leg and says, “Make me another drink. Now,” and, after everyone calms down, Ann innocently says, “I thought it would be funny.” Funny, indeed.
Later that night, everyone is getting ready for bed and The Girlfriend’s father and I are left alone in the living room watching TV. After a few minutes the silence becomes tense, but rather than say anything that might elicit a memory from the past two hours, I say the safest thing I possibly can:
“Turned out to be a pretty nice day, didn’t it?”
(Note: In order to win the game, you have to create your own “Would you rather . . .” question at the very end. My potential game-winning question, had we even come close to winning, was to be: Would you rather drown a litter of puppies or shoot an elderly person? At least in my mind the answer is pretty obvious.)