Games and Inventions
I find it rather amusing what the mind will do when free of distractions. Our idle minds like to create silly games and nonsensical ideas around the campfire.
There’s a vocabulary game we play anytime we get together. Whenever a big word pops up in one of our many conversations, someone else must immediately say, “Not only that, but it’s_____,” filling in the blank with a synonym, as if they don’t know what the original word means. Trust me, it’s funnier than you think.
It all started when I was bartending in Destin, Florida, many years back. One night, after getting our asses kicked by the dinner rush, I was in the mood to make strong drinks. The sous-chef, Scott O’Daniel, came up to the bar and ordered a Captain and coke. I make a strong one.
Later that evening, when the chef was feeling good, he said, “Damn, you should have seen the first drink Johnny Welsh made me. There was so much rum it was translucent!”
I immediately responded, “Not only that…you could see through it!”
O’Daniel spit up half his drink, laughing so hard the booze shot out of his nose. So now, whenever a big word is thrown out, we all try to top each other by being the first to say, “Not only that…” The more complex the word and the quicker the rebuttal, the funnier.
The trick is not to overplay it or try to define a common word. Wait for the right moment, when nobody is expecting it, and unleash the sarcasm. Ah, to be puerile forever. Not only that, it’s nice to act immature!
The Squirrel Launcher
On my first surf trip seven years ago, we had a problem with ground squirrels at the campsite. There were so many, and they loved to steal our snacks. Even in the daytime, they were not shy about invading our picnic table.
I proposed the invention of the squirrel launcher: a catapult with a small net and bait inside. The net would be attached to large rubber bands like a water balloon launcher. The squirrel taking the bait would trigger the release and bam! The squirrel would go flying out of the campsite, over the fence, past the bluffs, and into the ocean. I figured the water would be a soft enough landing it wouldn’t kill the squirrel if it knew how to swim. Of course, then we began to imagine ourselves out surfing in the lineup, suddenly seeing a big splash.
Early prototype of squirrel launcher.
“What was that?” one of us would say.
Another would respond, “We got one! We got a squirrel!”
We never had time to build the contraption, which was a good thing since it might have put us all in jail for violating animal rights. But, you have to admit, it’s a hilarious image. No squirrels were harmed during this brainstorming session.
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