{31/10/2012}   Eavesdropping a word association game

The other night I was sitting in the same carriage as six boys, aged between maybe nine and 12 years old, who were playing word association.  It was fascinating!  I had to hide behind my book to stop myself correcting certain things, most frustrating, but it was a really interesting dynamic.

“With chicken you always have basmati rice” so “pilau” was not allowed by their leader after “chicken”.  The leader was a little strict, I felt, and clearly a bit older as he seemed embarrased at mention of “girl”!   He somehow managed to veer back into a comfort zone of footballer names and various sports though!

They were kind of sweet.  “Gary Glitter”, then “child molester” and, interestingly, “Childline” was another chain.  Shanghai, in Japan *agh*, came up but the leader chastised him for not knowing it was in China.  Hurrah!

There were also lots of references to gaming, which meant nothing to me, and I was a bit disappointed when versions one, two and three came up in succession; where is the imagination?!  They then broke out into the Hokey Cokey, which one boy was adamant was the Hokey Pokey.

You may wonder how I remember all this but it was so funny that I wrote this while listening to them.  Leader declared “rich” could not follow “royalty” as “they live on charity”.  Then a rendition of Postman Pat was sung, though it degenerated with alternative lyrics.

“18”, then “USA”, on the grounds “I’m going to the USA when I’m 18”.  That was the leader, who wouldn’t let the others dispute his logic.  There then ensued a geography lesson on Las Vegas, which one boy was getting distressingly wrong!

“Poker”, “chips”, “KFC”, “eggs”, the latter which was disputed but defended “because southern chickens lay eggs”, maybe I missed one but then “teepee”, and I’m not sure how that slipped through.

There was then a discussion on The Life of Brian.  Leader then wanted someone to say “galaxy” after “stars” so he could say “milky way”, so “galaxy” replaced “shiny”, but he objected to “snickers” after “milky way”, which I thought was not in the spirit of word association and should have been allowed.

“Greed”, “anger”, which was initially dismissed but kept in because “greedy people get angry”, to which leader said “ok, because they are both emotions”, then “emoticons”, “sad face”.  Then a discussion on emoticons and a link was lost.

Then, almost verbatim, with novelty punctuation on my part:

Da vinci, code, treasure, pirates – how treasure from code? – Captain Jack Sparrow, bird, eggs – already had – small birds – no, go back – bald eagle, owl, barn, sheep, bacon, gammon, lamb, Easter, egg – done that – bunny, Lenny – what? – Of Mice and Men, Bob – George makes more sense.  Then a big dispute and it was changed to George, Russian, federal, Blake – what? – George Blake, the Russian spy in WW2 – Trident – I said Russia – vodka, ICBM, bomb, bang – not a word – shell, hole, crater, crate – what? – He said crater, I said crate, a box, then crater.  They go on ships – no, freighters not craters – just say artillery – artillery, guns – no, say terrorists – Hook ,Peter Pan, crocodile – actually it was an alligator – Ali – as in Ali the Alligator …

Then things deteriorated with discussion over excess use of names.

I know it was blatant eavesdropping but I found it fascinating and they filled 30 minutes of my train journey and made me want to play word association!  I did get leader’s point about getting the others to sometimes change their words so he could say his good/cool/interesting words, it’s much more difficult to manipulate the trajectory when there are more than two people playing.


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