and then there's maude

It’s been a whole month since the last book club meeting.  I guess time flies when you don’t read the book.

Mrs. Jones hosted book club this evening, but luckily for me, this time I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t read the book.  Apparently it wasn’t a very good book, no matter what Oprah may have said.  So instead of answering the book club discussion questions, the evening started out with a lively discussion about potty training, and how long is too long to hold it in between trips to the restroom.  This was followed by a comparison of the differences between underwear, panties, knickers, bloomers, and undies—we all had our own preferences—and I think one of the ladies said she preferred none.  (She was joking I’m certain.)  And a debate on whether one should bury one’s grandparents in the backyard (specifically next to the pool) or just have them cremated. In our defense, we were all against burying Grandma in the yard. 

Once everyone had shuddered off the creepiness of burying anything larger than a hamster anywhere near our homes, Mrs. Jones pulled out a game for us to play.

I had never played Scattergories before.  The object of the game is to match categories with words that all start with the same letter.  And you don’t get to pick the letter…it’s all in the luck of the roll…and it’s timed! So in one round the categories might be “things found in the refrigerator” or “famous politicians” and if the letter is the letter I, you need to remember that ice cream is found in the freezer and Eisenhower begins with an E.  Oh, and you don’t get points if someone else picked the same word you did for each category, so originality is vital to your survival in the game. 

The Battle of Scattergories.

I was ready to play.  I love games.  Especially when I’m winning.  As it turns out, I’m not the only one who likes to win.  Mrs. Jones is quite fond of winning.  And as it happens, so is our mutual neighbor, Miss Congeniality (not her real name.) Miss Congeniality is probably the friendliest of all the neighbors on my block.  And I have several friendly neighbors.  Most of them were in attendance at tonight’s book club. 

The first round was without a doubt the hardest.  The letter was I, and no matter what the category, I is a difficult letter to come up with when a timer is ticking out the seconds and you can’t duplicate your answers.  I only got three points that round, but I was just getting the hang of things.  In the next round, once we were all clear on the rules, the gloves were off. 

The letter was M. 

Mrs. Jones and I were disqualified by our answer to the category “things made of metal.” I chose “machinery” and she chose “machines.”  We both argued that the words conveyed different things, despite their similarity.  We were voted down.  We vowed to be as picky with the others if the opportunity came up, which it did.  I still think “gelatin” is to “green jello” what “machinery” is to “machine.” After all, green jello IS gelatin.  I was voted down on that argument too.  But that was ok, because Mrs. Jones was not happy that we wouldn’t give her the points for “monkey boy” when someone else picked “monkey.”

“Machine…machinery.” I reminded her. 

We rolled M again, and I am still convinced that Maude was a woman in the Bible no matter what the others say.  I can’t find it yet, but I’m going to keep looking.  That’s what Google is for! 

Down went the thumbs and the battle raged on. 

Miss Congeniality threatened to leave after every round.  She doesn’t like to lose.  And she didn’t like the rules.  She always seemed to pick words that someone else had used.  I don’t remember if we gave her the points when she named “elves” as “heroes”, but her argument was that Santa’s elves were always heroes to her, so we may have given in.  What we refused to cave on was her “parts of a car” answer.  She chose “gas tank” which is perfectly acceptable as a part of a car, but one of the other ladies chose “gas hole” as her answer.  Miss Congeniality argued that a “gas hole” was hardly the same as a “gas tank” to which I replied that the gas hole was really just the vagina of the gas tank.  That set her off further, and she argued that a vagina and a uterus are two separate body parts and therefore so should be a “gas tank” and a “gas hole.”  We didn’t agree, to which she decided that we were all a bunch of “gas holes.” And she said she was going home. 

After the next round.

She didn’t leave.  We all stayed to play six rounds.  It was the most fun I’ve ever had at a party that didn’t serve alcohol.  But then again, I did win the game.  Winning is always better than not winning. Miss Congeniality came in dead last.  But we told her that finishing dead last was impressive.  Only one person could possibly finish dead last, so she won at losing.  I think she accepted that as a consolation prize.  She still won’t give me Maude.  I’m still going to look it up.  Just not tonight.  I’m too tired tonight.  I played really hard with my friends.  I’m ready for bed.

Until the next time…I’ll be trying to convince my neighbors that the Simpson’s bible counts for the game. After all, a bible is a bible!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on April 20, 2010 .