Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U: the name of the game is "UMMMM..."

A little context first - I come from a family of word dorks.  Both my grandmothers were school teachers, both my parents have teaching degrees, and my siblings and I often think we are too smart for our own good and we weren't afraid to say so.  We were raised playing Scrabble, pretty much as soon as we learned our ABC's, and it was commonplace in my teenage years for us to act as the grammar-police with each other.  The battle of the "good" vs "well" and "I" vs "me" included all three of us kids and both my parents, and we were merciless with each other. 

So, it stands to reason that when I went off to college and met two guys from South Dakota who had this dictionary-based game with which they tormented each other, I was charmed immediately.  The game goes like this:

One person, who either knows of the game or is in the presence of another game player, says - in conversation - "ummmm"
The next person interrupts with a word beginning in "um..." (like umbrella, for instance)
The opposing game player responds with another word beginning in "um..."
And so on, until someone can't come up with another "um" word.

And in the course of the game, you also have entirely sidetracked the conversation.  It's great fun!  When I joined this band of gamers, if memory servces, there were about 7 words in my dictionary starting in "um" - let's see what I can remember:  umbrella, umber, umbiliferous, umbilical,
umpire, umbria, umbrage...

I loved that game and I am happy to admit I'm a dork when it comes to stuff like this..  Now when someone says "um" in my presence, I still occasionally bark out my favorite opening word - umbiliferous.  Then there are blank stares.  It's so disappointing.  Darren and Kent, I miss you!

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