Growing up, I was a big fan of Guess Who, a board game that combined
the thrill of deductive reasoning with the even greater thrill of
making a clacking sound as you flicked characters' photos down after
ruling them out. It should be noted, of course, that the game is best
played against an intellectual equal, because there is really no fun in
beating some dumb n00b in two seconds because he or she was stupid
enough to pick a female or hat-wearing individual for you to guess.
However, once you figure out who the gifted players in your class are,
it is possible to have Guess Who matches rivaling the intensity level
of an international chess master showdown.
Every now and then, I will see someone in real life who closely
resembles a Guess Who character, and I will get a slightly surreal
feeling in response. For example, this happens every time I see sports
journalist Bob Ryan on TV. The man looks like he jumped off a Guess
Who card one day in the '80s and decided to start reporting on sports games.
this past weekend I was hanging out with Emily and I saw a guy who
looked exactly like a Guess Who character. I pointed him out to
Emily. Below, the ensuing dialogue:
Emily: It's Alfred! He looks like Alfred!
Me: Whoa. That is pretty impressive that you remember the name.
Emily: Of course I do! He was Anita's dad.
Me: What??? The game had a back story? How did I miss that?
Emily: Oh no, not officially. But I made up back stories for all
of the characters. Like, David and Phillip were in a gay relationship,
because they had matching beards.
Yeah. This also led to
an IM conversation today in which Emily informed me that, among other
things, Alfred and Maria were a husband-wife international spy duo.
(Exact quote from Emily: "but while Maria is very doting, Alfred is
kind of distant.")
Wow. I challenge you to find me someone who has spent more time alone with a Guess Who board.