Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cleaning Up Our Language

Probe, (n): a parlor game introduced in the 1960s by Parker Brothers. It is reminiscent of the simple two-person game Hangman, whose object is to guess a word chosen by another player by revealing specific letters. Probe extends the number of players to a maximum of four and introduces additional game elements that increase the levels of both skill and chance. Like Hangman, each player has a secret chosen word. But unlike Hangman, the game ends when the last word, not the first word, is revealed. All players remain in the game until the end.

Enough background . . .
My Father-In-Law, Ray (hereinafter known as Dad), loved games. But one of his favourites was the game of Probe. He loved the challenge of guessing his fellow players’ words.
And he really loved the challenge of coming up with nasty, horrible, very, very difficult words.
Particularly words containing letter such as ‘Z’ or ‘X’ or ‘Q’ or ‘K’.
Or multiples of the same.
Sneaky devil . . .
Dad loved this part of the game so much that he kept a list of words he encountered.
I am not making this up.
In his breast pocket, he kept a list of words he had read or heard that would surely stump his opponents in future games of Probe.
Such words as: acquire (a ‘c’ and a ‘q’? Come on!!!). Galax (wha . . .?). Abuzz (took us a while with that one!). Katharometer (okay, now you’re just making stuff up . . .).
Ugh.
So while I was composing such stumpers as rhododendron, he was crafting masterpieces like: xenophobia. Now how do you compete with that?
It got so that, when any of us sat down to play the game with him, we’d see that list come out, and hear the distant drums that signalled our impending doom.
Sigh.
But my Mother-In-Law beat him.
Okay, I don’t mean actually ‘beat’ him, although there were times (Particularly when he dipped into that pocket and emerged with that list) . . .
No. I mean that she fixed him and his little list of stinkers for good.
And she wasn’t even playing the game.
How? You ask as you prepare to play your own game and are looking for an edge . . .
Simple. She waited for laundry day and washed his list.
When he complained long and loud about her actions, she snickered and said, “Well, they were dirty words. I just had to clean them up!”
Of course she claimed forevermore that it really was an accident. And that she’d never actually meant to do it.
But we knew.
She was simply getting payback for trying to guess such posers as: zomotherapy. And: quadriform.
Yep. We knew.
Genius.

10 comments:

  1. That is genius! HA HA! A great story, as always! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. She claimed it was an accident ... but the snickering might have given her away!

    My grandfather was similarly ruthless in Scrabble. After he passed away, I inherited his (actual, real) book on Scrabble words. I've never used it because I'm whatever the opposite of competitive is. I play for the social aspect, especially for the laughs. (Footnote: I never liked to play my grampy and I don't like to play my husband, either :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm totally with you. It's the socializing I love! Let's play for fun!

      Delete
  3. I washed my hubs wallet once. He still reminds me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do they always remember the mistakes? Oh, wait . . . that's me, too.

      Delete
  4. What a fun post and the game sounds so fun. Although i would lose since my vocabulary is not very large. I do love a good story that comes together and this one certainly did.
    Thanks and blessings for the Sunday smile~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LeAnn! You'd do fine. There are five 'blank' cards to round out your word and make things harder. You'd probably beat me! (But maybe not my FIL!)

      Delete
  5. I don't recall Probe at all, possibly it never made it to Australia. but I remember playing hangman a lot at school. We had a seventh grade teacher who would reward us with 10 minutes of free time if we completed the lesson she was teaching, which meant of course that we all sat still and listened (and learned) in hopes of getting that ten minutes of hangman time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved hangman! Think of hangman for four. Tons of fun!

      Delete

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