Back when I was still in my single digits, we used to play around with our cousins once removed that lived down the street. Looking back on that sentence and arming you with the knowledge that I grew up in farm country, I suppose the term “play around” is a little odd and conjurs up thoughts of something kinky. We used to hang around with them, there was nothing odd about it. Now that my mind is out of the gutter, why don’t you join me?

Anyways, these family members used to play this game that I still haven’t figured out over 30 years later. If a person said “What?” in response to anything anyone said anywhere, they would say, “You have five minutes to get rid of that word.”

I could never get rid of the word (assumedly “What”) because I didn’t know what on earth they were talking about and I didn’t know how to do it. I would invariably become upset and frustrated. Even today I don’t know what they were talking about and if it was a game that other kids played in the mid 70s, like “punch bug” where you slug the person next to you when you spotted a VW Beetle. I don’t know if this damaged my psyche in any way, and I haven’t the foggiest idea why I thought of that today, but there it is.


You have five minutes to get rid of that word.

* My more “proper” cousins insisted we play “Fruitbasket” (right up my alley?) where they would yell out a random fruit and if you were it you had to jump on the bed. I found it incredibly boring.