I like to play games with my wife when we’re alone.
I’m thinking about ending right here without further explanation, but I won’t do that to you.
It’s been well-documented in this blog that I can get somewhat obsessive. It’s also been noted that I need to keep myself interested while circumnavigating the tediousness of everyday life. These two aspects of my personality intersect while I’m out and about with my wife. I have a myriad of inside jokes, plays on words, gestures, and sayings that can come about at any point during our conversations or adventures abroad.
There have been plenty of sitcoms about groups of friends hanging out and talking about stuff and their wacky mishaps. My favorite parts of any of those shows are all of the little inside jokes and sayings the characters drop in conversation and call back to throughout the series. The writers painstakingly craft these quips and jibes to make them sound off the cuff and as if the characters are referring to long-established shared material. Even though I know they’re fictional, I wonder how these characters came to establish their inside jokes. From my own experience, some inside jokes are made out of some shared experience, some turn of phrase or weird happenstance that everyone who was there to see and hear it can quote and refer back to for all time and eternity. Other inside jokes, however, come from somebody working WAY too hard to make it happen. One of your friends tries to instruct all the others in how the joke works, what to say or do when some particular thing happens, then coach and prod people if they forget or don’t care as much to continue the joke. I figure this would have to happen in some of these sitcoms, you know, in the part they don’t put on air. (I like to imagine they only air the interesting parts of those characters lives, but they leave out they doldrums of ordinary life.) But some of their inside jokes are just too particular for them to happen organically; someone had to make a point to create them. (I know it was, in fact, the writers who created them, but I’m supposed to believe these characters are real, right?) “Ok, so if there’s two guys, and we’re making a bet or something, we shouldn’t just shake hands. Let’s bring over a third person, they’ll put their hands on top of our hands while we’re shaking, then shout, ‘A gentleman’s agreement!’ Then we’ll do one big handshake and yell, ‘Huzzah!’ as we release the handshake. Got it?” That had to have happened first before Ted and Barney executed this move on the How I Met Your Mother episode titled, “The Murtaugh List.”
This is how most of my inside jokes and games go with my wife. When she pities me and plays along it’s hilarious, but more often it’s just frustrating for her. Some of the many games I like to play while we travel on our misadventures include, but are not limited to:
· Angrily shaking our fists in unison as we drive past any place we used to work.
· When my wife sneezes, the “-choo!” part of her “Ahh-choo!” is often very high-pitched and not-unlike one of Michael Jackson’s quintessential, “Hoooo!!!” ’s. So whenever that happens I try to make her follow up with a, “Hee-heee!” and “Ooowwwww!” (I don’t make her grab her crotch or turn into a panther, though.)
· When we’re listening to a song that has a strong drum section, I like her to play air drums. Mostly because it’s hilarious and cute to me, but also because she doesn’t know how to play drums and it’s a lot of flailing aboot.
· There’s another one right there!!! I will often pepper my conversations with Canadian pronunciations of words like “aboot” and “hoose” instead of “about” and “house.” I’ll even correct my wife’s American pronunciation until she gives in or I get slapped, whichever comes first.
· And my all-time favorite of all time: The Snap-Five.
I got this one from the incredible medical sitcom/drama Scrubs from a surgeon named The Todd. You could usually count on The Todd for 2 things in any given scene – dirty double entendre (i.e. “I’d like to double her entendre!”) and plenty of high-fives. The Todd would give his high-fives a name, initiate them with crushing force, then both parties would snap their fingers in unison afterwards. And The Todd had high-fives for every occasion, such as the “Need a Hug” five, “Something Might Be Wrong” five, “Face” five, and the “Self” five when no one would engage him. My wife and I are both big fans of Scrubs, though given my somewhat obsessive nature I tend to show much more dedication. As such I’ve instituted the use of the Snap-Five in our daily lives, from the “We cooked a big dinner” five, to the “We closed on a house” five, to the “Great sex!” five, though that last one hasn’t caught on for some reason. I try to institute the Snap-Five game with all my friends, too, and Scrubs has been off the air for long enough that people think it’s my original idea! (which is more sad than awesome, now that I think about it) There’s a girl that goes to my church who is particularly enthusiastic about the Snap-Five once I introduced it to her. Not a week goes by that I don’t get a “Good morning!” five from her, which honestly makes my whole week.
Not everyone is obsessive or bored as I usually am, but you have to admit it’s fun to have special inside jokes and sayings in your group of friends. It’s like an identifier that someone is in your group or one of “your people.” Feel free to institute the use of the Snap-Five in your own group of family and friends! I’d love it if a couple months from now I’m walking around the mall and I hear someone in the food court yell, “Frozen yogurt and soft pretzel five!!!”