Tag Archives: games

Those Insensitive Children’s Games We Played

3 Oct

Play time is different for kid’s nowadays. Gone are the times when your parents would kick you out of the house armed with only a ball and your bike, and you wouldn’t see each other until dinner.

Friday was meatloaf night, I was always late on Friday night.

Imagination and pick-up games ruled the neighborhood. Everyone would meet at the “spot.” And the “spot” was different per social class child gang.  Our “spot” was a cleared out field that was going to be developed into houses as soon as the plots of land were bought. In the background stood the forest which was only  a few hundred feet of uncleared woods, but at 10 years old, perfect for building a tree fort or going hiking without any fear of getting lost forever like Hansel and Gretel…the Brothers Grimm version, not the weird movie remake.

Two other important differences from the way children play today.


There was a clear cut winner, whether it was an individual or team sport. Not everyone had an equal chance of winning. It did depend on your skill. If you swung and missed the ball three times with your bat, you sat down, you were out. You didn’t keep swinging until you eventually hit the ball. Often if you were the kid that sucked at baseball, you were the kid that was King of dangerous homemade bike ramp jumping.


For better or for worse the names of the games were not always politically correct. No one seemed to notice or care. Two prime examples from my childhood was: Smear the Queer and Black Man’s Tag.

If you are unfamiliar with the game Smear The Queer, the rules are simple. Throw the ball in the air and whoever catches has to run without being tackled. This could be played with any number of kids from 2 to 200. There is no designated place to run to, you just keep going until A) you’re tired or B) you’re tackled. If you get tackled then you throw the ball in the air and it starts all over again.

The great thing about this game: no thinking required. A helmet should have been required, it wasn’t, but definitely thinking went out the door. Your caveman instinct of survival kicked in and you just ran and ran until your friends piled on top of you like fat kids on the last Klondike bar.

For most, the offensive word in this game is Queer.  But I think the scarier word is actually; Smear. Think about how you would Smear something. Now think about violently Smearing something…or someone. Queer could be derogatory or empowering depending on how you say it. (Think Queer Eye For The Straight Guy) However, Smearing is Smearing, and there is no coming back from a proper Smearing whether your finger painting or recreating a Slasher movie.

In Black Man’s Tag the basic concept was that one person was “It”, and would tag the other players who were running back and forth between two safe zones. If you got tagged, you would join the “It” person and help them tag people until their was only one left, which was usually my friend Gilbert. He was damn fast. He was German. I don’t know if that is what made him so fast, but I think Germans played around with genetic enhancing during Word War II.

He may have been a by product of that.

We played this in the school’s parking lot with each end of it being the safe zones. You could not be tagged in the safe zone. If only big cities worked this way too.


A Simple graph for visualization.

I don’t know why it was called Black Man’s tag. Never really thought about the name until I became an adult. I had Black friends who played it. They never said anything about the name either.

“Hey, why does it have to be Black Man’s tag, why can’t it be Island Pacificer Tag? Or Spanish-American-Croatian Tag? Huh? Racist!”

The names of both of these games could admittedly have been chosen better. Maybe Black Man’s Tag could have been renamed Zombie Tag and Smear The Queer could have been renamed Rugby.

But as a kid it didn’t matter what the name of the game was, we just wanted to play.

Good job Gilbert, you genetically enhanced bastard. Good job.

Protected: An Open Letter To Wil Wheaton

3 Dec

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

My Simplistic Review of Table Top

20 Aug

I really like this YouTube show, TableTop.

It’s where they take old tables, remove the tops, and teach you how to refurbish them. So fascinating. Makes my power tool belt giddy with excitement. Today’s installment dealt with a 200 year old coffee table once used by Napoleon. Apparently he wasn’t fond of coasters, also left several burnt cigarette holes in the top and some sort of nasty white film all over the left side. Our host Wil Wheaton, of Stand By Me and Star Trek fame, will take us on a magical transformation of bringing this table top back to mint condition. Just like the day Napoleon got it from Chambres to Go.

Ok. The show is not really about that.

You probably already knew that.

Because you’re smart.

And I have a confession to make. I don’t own a power tool belt. I don’t even own any power tools. (I will spare you the obvious joke.)

I shouldn’t. I could probably, easily staple my hand to the wall…while installing floor tile.

But when I describe the show to you, it may or may not sound just as lame.

But it’s not. Trust me.

Wil Wheaton, of Stand By Me and Star Trek fame, invites 3 internet celebrities to play board games with him while they film and edit it into a nice under 30 minute package.

Wait. Don’t click out of this post yet….

You have to watch. I promise you’ll find it entertaining.

I so want to play a game with Wil Wheaton, of Stand By Me and Star Trek fame. I’m not saying I’m an internet celebrity, I’m just saying Wil Wheaton, of Stand By Me and Star Trek fame, makes playing board games look super fun again.

That is until I gather my own kids together to try to recreate the show, pull out a board game…

…get the cries of, “Do we have to? I would rather play video games!”…

…stop the, “You’re cheating! fight”…

…listen to the, “I’m quitting!” declarations…

…and wish I was playing with Wil Wheaton, of Stand By Me and Star Trek fame, and his friends instead.

I decided to give it a try with one particular game that I thought everyone would like: Ticket To Ride. A big disappointment thanks to Target with a 50 dollar price tag. Just kind of broke right now…that money needs to go to groceries.

Amazon had a little better price…but I don’t know how much shipping would be…

Check it out on YouTube. There are about 9 or 10 episodes, maybe more, a different game each week. Plus bonus features.

I like bonus features.

Side Note: Wil Wheaton, of Stand By Me and Star Trek fame, has a hot wife.

Side Note Part Two: I hope that didn’t hurt my chances of getting on the show.

Side Note Part Three: David Harding wants to play as well…can we be on the same show?

Side Note Part Four: If the hot wife comment made you mad…Wil Wheaton, of Stand By Me and Star Trek fame…don’t punish David Harding…that was all me.

Preteen Vs. Call of Duty

27 Apr

Preteen playing Call of Duty and talking smack to his buddies:

  • Dang it! Dang! Dang!
  • Oh, I hit the python! (I don’t know what that means. I think he meant pylon, but even then, it doesn’t make much sense.)
  • Oh, and a shot gun takes him out. That’s going to hurt in the morning.
  • That must suck for that guy that tried to kill me.
  • Hey, you took out your best player, me!


Yes, grown ups. He is that squeaky voiced tween that is kicking your butt and causing you to throw your controller across the room.

Me: Why do you sit so close to the TV, Preteen?
Preteen: It’s better to see.
Me: You’re going to hurt your eyes.
Preteen: I shall be fine.
Me: Back up a little bit.
Preteen: If I do I’ll die!
Me: It will be Ok, unlike real war, you’ll come back to life.

Preteen moves chair and dies.

(Editor’s note: In the game.)

(Editor’s other note: Dad secretly snickers.)

Preteen: Thanks, Dad!
Me: The Call of Duty Vision Insurance Plan sucks. I can’t afford the glasses.
Preteen: Huh?
Me: Don’t worry about it.

Life before Playstation.