one of my YG guys from years past (dusty) is to blame for the following variation on the ABC game:
take a well-known topic / book / movie and, in round-robin fashion, start with one person who has to think of a character or main feature starting with A, then go to the next person who has to do the same for B, then the next person for C, etc. – keep this going until someone gets stuck, is eliminated, and play goes to the next person. the winner is obvioiusly the last person left standing.
the first time i remember him initiating this game, we tackled Harry Potter. A was Albus, B was Beasley, C was… well, you get the picture.
this could be done with that ghastly “Twilight” series and/or the movie, or a TV show, etc.
just another great time-killer for long drives.
so the long drive from cincy back to pensacola drove us to playing the ABC game, much as we used to do with youth groups on the way to camps, retreats, concerts, etc.
“yes, yes, but how does one play?” you may be wondering.
each individual starts with the letter A and,Â using anything OUTSIDE of the car, van, or bus you’re riding in, finds a word that begins with that letter before moving on to the next letter in the alphabet. each word can only be used once, so the trick is to be the first to say the word and the letter. the person that gets through the entire alphabet first wins!
so, for example: lise and i are driving down the road and she sees a car with an Alabama license plate. she says, “Alabama, A.” and then moves on to B. because i didn’t say it first, she gets the A. i might see a street name “Anandale St.” and a Buick with California plates and if i can say them all fast enough, “Anandale, A; Buick, B; California, C” then i get the three of them. but if lise needs the C and she calls california first, she gets it and i’m still stuck on C.
- INFERRED words don’t count. if i see an Audi and know it’s an Audi but don’t see the word “Audi” on the car? can’t use it.
- Initials don’t count (unless you agree to it at the beginning – CDL Trucking can’t be used for C).
- Distracting an opponent in the hopes that they won’t see a letter / word they are looking for is perfectly acceptable.
- X is a somewhat difficult word – in the past we have allowed that as long as the letter X is IN the word somewhere, it counts. Z can also be included in this rule.
- Petty bickering over who said it first is counterproductive, as the point of the game is to a) have fun and b) kill time. the bigger the group, the more difficult it is to avoid petty bickering, but appoint a referree just in case.
- Restroom breaks generally bring a time-out in the game.
- Writing a word on a piece of paper and sticking the paper out the window probably warrants a penalty of some sort. it’s not acceptable, at any rate.
because we didn’t make the X or Z exception, our game went on for hours, with my winning at approximately 11:30pm in Century, FL as we drove through a School Zone. lise was napping.
i was so proud of myself! the dog and i were up @ 3am and out the door by 3:30am for our drive to cincinnati.
we were bookin’ on through and i started making a mental list of all the things i had needed to get together and put in the car before we left. things were going along just fine until i thought to myself, “hey, something doesn’t feel right here…” i looked down and said,
“hey! where the hell are my shoes??”
the trouble with living by the beach? being too comfortable with being barefoot all the time.
besides this minor snafu, the trip to cincy has been a good one.
we love ‘em.
two sundays ago i hit google and searched for a pumpkin patch near pensacola. and in a 4 county range, there was only one. excited we were! hitched up the dog we did! loaded the address into the GPS and into the car we got!
and drove. and drove. and drove some more.
and drove down the dirt road we did. and drove. and drove. seemingly into the middle of nowhere.
dirt flying, no living creatures anywhere (except for this turkey vulture chowing down on a tasty smooshed armadillo), we began to worry.
until the GPS says, “turn left” and we look. and there is nothing but a closed road. and a sign saying, “road closed.” and it looks like it’s been closed a good while. and it’s the very road that the pumpkin patch is on.
we exchange glances.
we yell at the GPS.
the dog whines.
the dust settles.
and at long last we hit asphalt. and 20 yards later?
the road. it’s a loop! woo-hoo! pumpkin patch, here we come!!
and 2 miles later?
bummed we were! the great pumpkin will not reward us with candy! auggghhhh!!!!
what’s with florida and no pumpkin patches??
driving was what we did. every weekend, sometimes both friday and saturday nights. pink floyd in the tape deck, a bag of chips, a couple cokes and the open road. we would intentionally go off and try to get lost on the backroads of clermont and adams counties in ohio. funny thing about that: when you do it for a couple years, it gets harder and harder to get truly lost.
but this post is about the day we got really stupid.
we were bored. it was summer. a saturday afternoon. the sun was out, it was warm, there was nothing to do. we hooked up early that day because we weren’t going to be able to go out that evening.
scott was driving that trusty old granada that had taken us so many miles down so many roads. we drove around for a while trying to think of something to do when he finally turned to me and said, “do you want to jump myrtle’s tit?”
well, this was a new one on me.
“myrtle’s tit? you get a girlfriend or something?”
“no, you dumbass,” he replied, using his hands to give a visual. “myrtle’s tit is a stretch of downhill road in anderson township that has a big bump halfway down it. you can jump it and go airborne!”
“woo-hoo! let’s do it!” was my response.
we arrive at the hill and sit at the top, making sure there’s no oncoming traffic before making the big run. coast is clear, we’re buckled in, tunes cranked, scott guns the engine, and we speed off.
now, i’ve heard of instances where people talk about life suddenly going in slow motion but it always sounded a bit fishy to me. this was the first time i ever experienced it myself and it was stunning.
we hit myrtle’s tit at a high rate of speed and the world slowed to a crawl. you feel the crunch of the road, see your knuckles white on the dashboard, feel the car going airborne as the back tires finally follow the front, severing contact with the pavement. time stretched and it felt like we must’ve been free falling for ten seconds or more. the adrenaline hits around this point, and you think you can do anything.
then the film speeds back up, the thud of 3156lbs of steel reestablishing ties to terra firma brings you back to your senses, and you let out a loud cry of victory and surprise – you left the full ashtray open, both of your cokes are uncapped, and your bag of doritos unsecured – all of these items now occupy space throughout the interior of the car.
we pulled off at the bottom to collect our wits, relive the excitement, and clean up our mess.
we drove a couple more hours that day, but we kept hearing this metallic ka-thunk-ing sound coming from the rear. we stopped to look several times but found nothing. it wasn’t until we got to east fork lake that scott finally realized what it was. we pulled over, walked to the back of the car, and took the hubcap off the passenger side rear tire.
the rattling ka-thunking? two of the lug bolts snapped off, the third one was stripped almost to the end, and the fourth one was quite loose. we’d been driving on essentially one lug bolt all day.
that was the beginning of the end of that sweet car. it didn’t last too much longer after that. but the memories of myrtle’s tit? they’ll last forever.
we were seventeen years old. it was labor day weekend & scott’s parents were out of town. i “spent the night at scott’s house” and we, in turn, spent the night driving all over tarnation.
this was our usual routine on friday and saturday nights: scott comes and picks me up. we pick up a couple cokes, a bag of doritos, make sure one of us brought the pink floyd tapes, and hit the road, driving scott’s ’77 ford granada through the backroads of clermont county, ohio and beyond until i had to be home.
but this night? it was the longest we’d been out driving ever. we took off around 7pm and drove all over clermont county, out to adams county, probably into brown county, and then decided to hit hamilton county. it’s probably 4 a.m. and we’re driving through delhi, where the hills are crazy big. we’re running on adrenaline and talking all kinds of silly crap.
we crest the hill and head down the steep ravine-like road when i spot a huge pile of trash sitting on the curb at the very bottom of this hill. the following conversation takes place:
me: …and you better watch out because if you hit that garbage at the bottom of the hill, it’ll be like, ‘BOOM!’ shit flies everywhere!!
him: shitflies? what are shitflies?
me: no, no – you hit that pile of garbage and shit… flies everywhere.
him: yeah, i heard you the first time, but what are shitflies? i’ve never heard of those.
me: no, dude – look… you’re driving down this hill and you run into that pile of trash. if you do that, shit will fly all over the place! shit – flies, not shitflies.
we give each other “the look” like the other is crazy, and bust out laughing. there are few times i can remember laughing so hard and re-telling it live is one of my favorite stories to share.
and the code word, to this day, is shit flies. or is it shitflies?
after a year here in pensacola, we finally got rid of our ohio license plates and went full floridian. i’ve never seen a state with so many license plate choices, though, and lise had to spend some time figuring out which one she wanted.
i knew what i was after the first time i saw this plate a year ago. the colors! the sunset! the water! dolphins don’t hurt, either. (yes, i had to include my fish n chips logo, too. sorry. it goes with the motif, no?)
lise spent some time checking out the myriad of plate choices and finally went with this one:
what, exactly, is the message she is trying to send? on the surface, “save our seas” she would tell you. deep down? i think she wants to swim with sharks and take a bite outta something, just for fun. maybe it’s “tailgate me and you’ll sleep with fishes!”
florida definitely has the rockingest plates we’ve seen thus far – i will say that the john lennon plate is taking it a bit far, however… (it HAS raised almost $700,000 to combat hunger in the state – maybe i ought to back off, eh?). thank goodness we didn’t become the most embarrassing state in the union with the “I Believe” plate that was threatened earlier this year. whew! crisis averted!
the comment came on facebook where this unnamed individual had the unmitigated gall to say, “Uh….Scott….did you dye your hair BLONDE???!?!?!?!” and my response was along the lines of, “why are you picking on me? it’s gray – don’t be a meanie!”
i’ve had gray in my hair since the tender age of 16 when a quarter-size patch appeared near my hairline. it’s not a big deal, really.
but i’ll never forget the day ten or so years ago when i almost bought the farm because of gray hair.
lise and i were out together for the day. we were living in maryland and had driven up to lancaster, pennsylvania to drive around, get some lunch, shop amish, and enjoy the time with each other. it was approaching evening with the orange sun setting fire to the ground in the direction we’re heading. i was driving down the narrow road, shared with amish horse-and-buggy types in both directions, when, out of nowhere, lise swings her arm over and whacks me square in the chest, exclaiming, “Oh My Gosh!!!”
well, i about drove into a ditch, taking a couple bonnet-capped mennonites with us.
“what on earth’s going on?!? why are you hitting me and scaring me? What? WHAT??”
“you’ve got a gray hair in your beard!”
“WHA??? you almost get us KILLED because of a gray hair in my BEARD??”
we’ve laughed every time the story has been told in the intervening years, but at that point i was ready to open the passenger side door and leave her with electricity-less ones.Â thankfully her response was redeeming and to the point: “well, i still love you, even if you are old and gray.”
and indeed, that gray hair mated with others and their ilk have spread throughout my facial hair.
it’s not a big deal. really.