I’m back from the beach, where my husband and I enjoyed a few days with some long-time friends. We came home with sand in our shoes, color on our cheeks, some soft ice cream stains and a terrific new game.
Our friends made up this game, which was great fun. I encourage you to play it, but one of the creators is a prominent intellectual property lawyer, so you’d best not steal the idea.
The homespun dinner table game offers the best in musical entertainment, laughter and profound humiliation.
Each person staying in the house was asked to bring his or her MP3 player to the table and hand it over to the leader. We had 10 players. One by one, each person’s song list was set on Shuffle and three songs were played—at random; for the benefit of the Podless, that’s what “shuffle” means.
I believe, anthropologically speaking, that our iPods are telling relics, revealing much about our true selves. And admit it, don’t we all have one or two songs in our libraries that we’d rather not have anyone discover?
Well, that’s the point of the game, and somehow the Shuffle function can bore right through to that one song that reveals to your loved ones—and the fellow dinner guests you’ve just met—your inner pathetic dweeb.
So here’s how it works. The first player, who happened to be I the other night, surrenders her iPod to the leader, who pops it into the speaker system. When a song comes on, the rest of the group gives it a thumbs up, thumbs down or some sort of gesture that in essence means, make it stop—now. It’s a little like Pandora Radio. We all decided that the make-it-stop option should be limited to three per voter, as some people are natural-born critics.
My first song was a little lame. It was Chris Isaak’s version of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.” As uncoolness goes, I’d hoped Chris Isaak and Neil Diamond would cancel each other out. Turns out, in a group where half the members were over 50 and the other half under 27, I wasn’t so lucky. Thumbs down. Shuffle stopped at my second song, Heart’s “Crazy on You,” which nearly everyone agreed is one of the best songs ever. Saved. Number three killed me. It was Ray Stevens’ “The Streak.”* ‘Nuf said. (Don’t look, Ethel!)
A few other players were almost as exposed and embarrassed. The hostess blushed as her device found “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The group agreed that my husband took the prize with Claudine Longet’s “Lazy Summer Night.” Who remembers Claudine Longet? The elder half of our group remembered Ms. Longet–her having been married to Andy Williams and having been convicted of fatally shooting her Olympic skier boyfriend and having been with the family at Robert Kennedy’s assassination and funeral.
The younger half of the table was busy banging out a drum chorus of “Make it stop.”
Try the game at your next dinner party and let me know how it goes.
*In the meantime, who’s old enough remember “The Streak?” Who’d like to hear a real life story about 1973′s fleeting pastime?