Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Surprise, a Non-Surprise, & The Most Evil Game Ever Devised

Last Saturday Cap'n Cluck organized a surprise birthday party for H.Q., whose birthday was Saturday, and Cap'n Disaster, whose birthday we of course all celebrated on Disaster Day. The cover story was that they were both going to meet at Cluckity's house at 7:00 and then go out to dinner; the rest of us were instructed to get there between 6:00 and 6:30 and park in the back so that they couldn't see the cars. The Anti-Cap'n and I were the first arrivals, and for a while it looked like we might be the only ones there for the surprise portion. While we were waiting, Cap'n C. mentioned that she hadn't ever gotten firm confirmation from Cap'n D. on if she and her Cap'n hubby (who was of course in on the surprise) would be able to be there at the time, so Cluckity decided to give Cap'n D. a call. The conversation went something like this from my perspective.

CAP'N CLUCK: Hey, just calling to see if you guys are going to make it . . . you're on your way NOW? . . . um, hey, let me talk to Cap'n Hubby real quick . . . Cap'n H.? DON'T COME YET, YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TILL 7:00!!!!!!!

Yeah, that wasn't suspicious at all . . . If nothing else, the experience showed us that Cap'n C. doesn't necessarily do well with sneaky.*

Other guests started arriving (including Magic Pants, the Cardinal, Mr. and Mrs. Smooth Money, and a few nicknameless Singles from FBCD and DBC) and after a while we moved from the kitchen into the living room to await the arrival of the b-day girls, at which point someone pointed out that due to the odd font used for the "Happy Birthday Cap'n Disaster and HQ" banner, the "Q" in HQ looked more like an "O" . . . moments later Cluckity was dangling over the second floor overlook, trying to color in the leg of the Q to correct the problem. After that brief bit of entertainment, we all just sat and visited while waiting for the slightly tardy guests of honor to show up.

H.Q. was the first to show up, and her entrance couldn't have worked any better if we had planned it; when she walked in, instead of turning to her right where we were all seated, she instead kept talking to Cap'n Cluck who, by virtue of opening up the door for her, was on her left, effectively keeping her back to us for quite a while. We all kept quiet until she finally turned around and the hollered the obligatory "Surprise!" Surprise number 1: a success! However, our victory was short-lived as not too long after Smooth Money ventured into the kitchen to get a drink, came back out and announced "Cap'n Disaster's at the back door." We all kind of sighed in resignation, and gave a half-hearted "Surprise" when she finally made her way past all of the party food and into the living room.

After dinner (which Cap'n Cluck had fixed single-handedly, crazy party planner that she is) we visited for a while and listened to some music. While going through Cluckity's collection, Cap'n D. came across one mix CD that she insisted be played. The title? "Middle School Dance CD." We then spent some time listening to such blasts from the past as "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Ice Ice Baby," and "I Saw the Sign." Following the mass sing-along inspired by the music, when it came time to choose a party game, there was really only one choice: Deluxe Encore, a.k.a. Pure Evil.

The premise of Encore is simple: the group is divided into two teams who are given the task of coming up with as many songs as possible that contain a word or subject as suggested by the cards, having to sing at least six consecutive words of the song, including the key word/subject. For example, the card might say "monkey," so team one could fire off "Everybody's got something hide except for me and my monkey," forcing team two to sing "1 2 3 the kids love the monkey," which would lead team one to sing "All around the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel," so team two would then sing "Come on down to Gorilla City, we got all the Gorillas you need, we got Gorilla Grodd, Sam Simeon, and Beppo the Super-Monkey." And then team one would say "Cap'n Neurotic, you just made that up" and Cap'n Neurotic would say "No, seriously, it's from Ookla the Mok's 'Smell No Evil' CD" and then . . . well, you get the idea.

Now, for those of you familiar with my songbursty nature, this game might seem tailor-made for me, but you're forgetting to factor in two very important facts. #1: I have the whole "deer-in-headlights" thing going on when I'm under pressure. #2: I have little to no will-power and am easily influenced. This one-two combo meant that when it was our teams turn to think up a song, the pressure would cause my brain to go almost completely blank, being filled only with the last song sung by the other team. Much consternation would then ensue on my part.

Some highlights (and lowlights) of the game:

  • The word is "long"; Cap'n D. starts off singing the beginning of "American Pie," but only gets out 4 words; in order to meet the 6 word requirement I finished it up with the only thing that I could think of: "Long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away, Naboo was under an attack . . .” H.Q. said "Nice try," until her teammate The Cardinal, being one of my people, confirmed that it was, indeed, a real song.
  • An incredibly long amount of time was spent on the category "Songs About Alcohol." There were some pop and rock songs used, three Buffett songs, at least one song from The Simpsons**, and what seemed like a near-infinite number of country-western songs. Oh, and "Raspberries, Strawberries" which I assumed nobody else would know, but I should have known better as The Cardinal exclaimed "Ah, the Kingston Trio."
  • The other incredibly long round was courtesy of the word "down," a word that almost seemed tapped out until someone (I believe it was Cap'n Cluck) sang a children's song which suddenly unleashed a flood of others: "London bridge is falling down," "The ants go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain," "I've got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart," "Row row row your boat gently down the stream," etc.
  • Occasionally the game requires a one-on-one challenge. I lucked out with my one-on-one with Magic Pants when the word was "purple." True, I could only think of two purple songs (Flying Purple People Eater and America the Beautiful(purple mountains majesty), but Magic Pants didn't even have that much luck, making it the only time all night I was able to stump the Human iPod.
  • As pressure filled as the one-on-one could be, even worse was the team-on-one moments, when one person had to go against the whole other team; when I had to be The One, the word was "sweet" and about the only thing I could think of was "Sweet Emotion," for which I couldn't remember any words other than "Sweet Emotion," which cycled endlessly through my head until my time was up.

I'm not sure how long the game actually lasted, although at times it seemed like it would never end; after Cap'n Disaster and spouse left the writing was pretty much on the wall for my team, and we eventually lost. But that wasn't the worst part of the game for me; no, the worst part was getting in my car to drive home, hearing "Life is a Highway" and thinking "Why didn't I think of this for a 'long' song?", followed by hours of sleeplessness as my brain cycled through song after song that I could have used for all the words and categories we had gone through, a process that has continued up through yesterday morning, when I finally thought of another song for "purple."***

Of course, all of that will do me no good, since the next time we play we won't get any of those words and I will have a whole new slew of words to keep me up all night.

*Or maybe that's what she wants us to think . . .
**"When I was 17, I drank a very good beer, I drank a very good beer I purchased with a fake I.D." Yes, that was mine.
***"The things you say, your purple prose just gives you away, the things you say -- you're unbelievable." -- EMF


cedric-the-destroyer said...

No one thought of Purple Rain?! I'm ashamed of you! And isn't there a "The Color Purple" song? I could be wrong. It has happened before.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

That's the most frequently suggested song when I tell the story to others. Much like "Sweet Emotion," I know no other lyrics to "Purple Rain" other than the titular lines, so it wouldn't have been any use at the time.

I also thought there might be a "The Colo Purple" song, but have no idea what it sounds like, so that didn't do me much good either.

Cap'n Cluck said...

How do I attach a picture?

Cap'n Cluck said...

*Brass monkey, that funky monkey.*

But alas, that's only 5 words.