Maddenation

Big Yellow Contractions

Does it not always seem to go that you do not know what you have got until it is gone?

DanGames11/20/03 8 comments

Comments

Dad • 11/20/03 10:47 PM:

Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

Dan • 11/20/03 11:56 PM:

Well said.

So, this song, “Big Yellow Taxi,” contains these lyrics. If you’re astute then you’ve noticed that I eliminated all the contractions in the lyrics. Kind of like saying, “I am loving it.” for the new McDonald’s slogan.

Jump back to freshman year of college, maybe sophomore year. Picture me and AJ, bored off our butts, talking to each other in our unending throng of laughter. One evening we decided to talk to each other without using contractions. It was great. Try it. Notice, that after the first sentence you say, you no longer are capable of noticing whether or not you are using contractions, but have forced upright your posture and poise and begun to speak as if you had all of a sudden become royalty and were engaged in a battle of etiquettespeak (kinda like newspeak). Then your opponent will laugh at you as you use five contracted words in a row (one of those words will be 3 words in one, yes), while you were so immersed in proper tone. It’s a great game. It is also one of those things you do once, maybe twice in your life. I should say, “should” do. I think AJ and I participated in the game much more than the average made-up-yourself game. We still do it from time to time, though the game usually lasts only two sentences each, max.

Patrick • 11/21/03 10:48 AM:

Speaking of things you do maybe once or twice in your life: Corrugated Assault. It happened one summer while I was working at AT&T as the recycling guy. As I was tossing these cardboard squares with round holes in them into the cardboard compactor, I noticed that they flew cool(ly). So I collected as many as I could (they were dividers between big computer tapes) and brought them home. One day, a lot of people were over, and we decided to throw them at each other across the backyard. Mark Walsh came up with the name (an awesome name; one of the best names of any game ever; it would be a fantastic name for a video game too, or a graphic novel). The things flew so crazily that you could only hope for luck to direct one to an opponent’s body. Scott Walsh once got a disk right between the eyes. It was fantastic, in that chaotic, purposeless way games are when you’re young and not overanalyzing things like “why?” There was no scoring system, no way to win or measure progress. It was just hucking cardboard in the general direction of the kids on the other side of the yard. We played one other time, up at the high school, and it was still mighty fun. Dan, I think, played once with his friends. But I don’t know of any other instances of Corrugated Assault. I think the disks are still sitting in a box in the basement though. Maybe someday…

Patrick • 11/21/03 10:56 AM:

By doo-way, shouldn’t this entry be in “Games”? Wasn’t that our original purpose of that category: to record all the games we’ve invented? We have to include (I think we need a separate entry) for Mortar Attack: where you stand on opposite sides of the house and throw snowballs at each other. You have to stand in a hittable spot (you can’t be too close to the house, for instance), you can’t move out of the way of an oncoming snowball, and you have to tell your opponent how close he was and how to adjust to hit you (“About five feet further back, and two feet to your right!”). It’s another of those wonderful competitive-cooperative games. Think how easy it would be to cheat! And even if your opponent hit you, you could lie, so you wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. But you don’t. Because that’s not what the game is about.

Once (and I’ve only played a couple of times), John Hickey and I were playing against Dad. We were in the front yard, he was in the back. On one throw by Dad, John was bent over packing snow into a ball, and Dad’s snowball hit him square in the small of his uncovered back, and the forward x-momentum sent the icy cold particles down John’s pants. That was the best.

Let’s get that “Games” category going! I guess we’ll have to copy and paste my comments here (I’ll do it), but no worries.

Dad • 11/23/03 6:48 PM:

My childhood was punctuated by many “games” we only played a few times. By the way, Dan, how many times did you actually play “Big Ball” at ND? (Or anywhere else for that matter.)

Once, in the winter, we created a snow tunnel in the back yard in a 5 ft drift. After we dug it, (and we were really “diggin’” it) we decided to have a contest to see who could run from our back door, dive into the tunnel, crawl out the side and return the fastest. The fact that I was faster than my brothers was offset by the fact that I was bigger and couldn’t fit through the tunnel as easily. Anyway, we continued the game for several days, even as the tunnel melted smaller. Eventually, after I had stopped because I didn’t fit, one of my brothers (I need to ask them which one it was) got stuck in the tunnel and had to be shoveled out. What fun.

Dan • 11/25/03 8:56 PM:

We’ve played BigBall a lot. Probably over 10 times. We have advanced defensive strategies, set boundaries, dribbling guidelines, and a code of ethics.

We even have our own motto:

BigBall is life. The rest isn’t BigBall.

Dan • 11/25/03 9:06 PM:

I forgot to mention that we played one night when I was near death with a cold. Seriously, I was in bad shape. I battled on, got the carp knocked out of me by John “Incredible Hulk” Waldron, scored some touchdowns (one point each), and then went to Coleman Morse Center for our postgame Powerade shower. By this point I was past near-death. I was mostly dead. We walked back to the dorm, and on the front steps i bent over and coughed my kidney loose and puked up my appendix. I did this for a few minutes, the whole time thinking that maybe somebody (Rambo, maybe?) will launch a Rambo Super-Arrow into my head and it will all be over. But that never happened. When I finished my hack-isode, I emerged cleansed and no longer delusional. I felt fine. I could breathe, I could feel my head NOT thumping like Andre the Giant against a rock with Wesley on his back, and I could walk in a straight line. It was a miracle. BigBall had cured me of my sickness, perhaps even saved my life.

Dad • 07/09/04 4:43 PM:

First of all, why did we mention all these “rarely played” games in comments instead of creating separate entries for them? Mortar Attack and Big Ball at least should be separate entries.

Second of all, Dan, I think it was really the throwing up incident that cured you, not Big Ball.

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