This week I have my students playing Taboo. The exercise serves a number of functions, actually: 1) It helps them form bonds within their newly-created workshop groups; 2) it allows them to practice description by finding alternate ways of describing things or ideas, since they have to avoid the obvious descriptive terms on the cards; 3) it teaches them tactics of audience analysis, since they have to make sure their teammates can understand their alternate descriptions; 4) it gives them bonus points on their workshop grades; and 5) it’s fun.

But the best part of today is that I get to walk around the room and hear some fascinating descriptions, sometimes depressing (“This is what you do on Friday nights” — “Get drunk!”; “When you’ve been drinking, you’re eyes look…” — “Bloodshot!”), but sometimes hilarious. In fact, some of the things I overhear, whether in context or out of context, struck me as so funny I’ve started keeping track, and I’ll share them here (watch for updates throughout the day).

For fun, I’m going to number these and leave the item being described blank. Anyone reading this, feel free to guess what my students are after here [NEW CLUES — 6-8] [and EVEN MORE new clues — 9-12]:

  1. Your grandma makes it  — it’s warm. You sleep with it.
  2. This is a really old famous writer.
  3. It’s Friday! It’s a candybar!
  4. It’s coming out of your nose. — “Boogers! Snot!” — Yes–another word for what’s happening . . . .
  5. (hilarious laughter) Just skip it!
  6. Thing in the sky. When you’re little, you make fun of it.
  7. People who can’t have regular bikes use this.
  8. Uh . . . . . no.
  9. When a little kid wets himself, he had a . . . .
  10. When you get owned, you get . . . .
  11. You’re an animal in the jungle, and you have an abnormally large butt.
  12. They’re white. They’re really annoying.

The most-sexist-clue award: “It’s a chick who’s at a game.” Answer: Cheerleader.

And, strangest outburst: “You are a . . .” Answer (immediate — not even a pause): “Badger!” They were going for “teenager,” but we are in Wisconsin, the Badger State.

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

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