Thursday, April 12, 2012

What April 12th Means To Me: Top Five Indoor Recess Games

Twas a bit rainy in Los Angeles yesterday, and it had me waxing nostalgic for those days of yore when I'd be stuck inside my elementary school classroom for indoor recess.  Indoor recess obviously paled in comparison to the outdoor version, but it was preferable to more math lessons, so my class generally looked forward to the 45 minutes of pointless games and talking. 

Anyway, it got me thinking about my top-five favorite indoor recess games.  So here we go:

5) Heads Down, Thumbs Up - OK, actually this game actually sucked, and probably doesn't deserve mention here, but I'm certain the game was universal and would conjure a lol or two.  If you don't remember the rules, they were simple.  The class would sit with their heads down (eyes covered) while holding out a thumb like they were hitchhiking.  Six lucky kids would then each press down one thumb and then, of course, whoever had their thumb pressed would have to guess who did it.  Let me tell you, second only to chess in intellectual games.  For whatever reason, my friend Jarrett and I would always accuse Mrs. Griffith of pressing our thumbs...even though she was just an occasional substitute teacher and was probably miles away 99 percent of the times we played it. 

4) Oregon Trail - This one came a bit later in my elementary years, after one of our classrooms secured an old Apple IIe computer.   You know, one of those large ass computers that probably holds less information than an iPod shuffle.  Oh, but what fun it was shooting green deer only to die of dysentery during recess!  I actually only have one really solid Oregon Trail memory.  My buddy Ryan and I were in the midst of an absolutely flawless game.  We were killing those deer, no one was getting sick, we survived the Indian attacks with ease, and we were trekking middle America as if on a bullet train. We were like Vanderbilt and Rockefeller in the front of a wagon..with a hint of Chuck Norris.

This was the first picture that popped up when I googled "Rich People On A Wagon." I just thought that was funny

Anyway, we had more meat and money than we knew what to do with, but for some reason, I didn't want to pay the Indian 5 measly dollars to help us cross the Snake River.  Ryan accused me of being a racist and a cheap Jew, and he had a point, we had the money and I assume the nice Indian could have used it to help feed his family. But I can be a convincing son-of-a-bitch when I want to be, and I demanded we caulk the wagon and forge the river to prove we could cross the country with no help. Of course, the wagon promptly sunk, we lost all our money and food, and got AIDS or something and died.  By the way, he still reminds me of this 20 years later. Seriously.

3) Paper Football - Simple game.  Fling this...

...toward someone's unprotected facha...I mean, outstretched hands in the shape of a goal post. Hours of lulz.  But I always wondered how many children lost eyes because of this game.  I wonder if teachers let kids play this today?  What am I saying, kids have PSPs to play now, and iPhones so they can watch porn.  They have no interest in paper football. 

2) Quarter Hockey - Another fun (and safer) game.  Simple rules:  Your opponent places his knuckles against the edge of the desk and extends his pinky and forefinger to create a goal.  The offensive player matriculates three quarters down the desk by flicking one of the quarters through the space created by the other two until you score a goal.  Sounds easier than it was.  My friend Kevin believed he had some natural advantage because he was actually good at real hockey.  Needless to say, he didn't.  Then again, Kevin was probably more mesmerized by the fact there was 75 cents laying on the table.  "Dude, you can buy 13 pieces of Bazooka with that!"

1) RISK - Ah yes, the game of world conquest.  Let me be clear, till this day, I have no clue how to properly play RISK.  But in my 4th grade classroom, RISK was as intense as actual war.  Our rules were simple.  We each got colored pieces and split up the countries arbitrarily.  Then we'd challenge countries (players) to a battle and whoever had the higher dice roll won.  That was it.  I'm actually not sure what we argued about, but we did all the time.  Loud arguments.  We were told to keep our voices down constantly.  Also, so many people wanted to play that we had two to a team...because it's very difficult to roll dice.  Matt Brady and I were always in charge of the blue army and, for some reason, felt the Congo was the most important country in the world, and would attack this relentlessly if it wasn't ours.  We'd pile many of our blue pieces on the Congo until it was completely covered.  This was, of course, all for show but...

Must protect...

This miserable place at all costs
I'd like to think we just wanted to secure the Congo's gold and diamond mines, but we weren't that worldly then, and I'm sure knew nothing about the Congo period. (Though Matt did go on to the Merchant Marines..I wonder if he ever visited the Congo in real life.  Either way, I'd like to think our teamwork inspired his life choices. We did dominate.). Brian, in charge of the green army, felt that Yakutsk should be his home city because when you could live here...

...Why would you want to live anywhere else?  That's right, New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Tokyo be damned, we needed to protect a wartorn shit hole of a country in Africa, and an old, run-down Soviet dirt clod. 

Anyway, our arguments got so intense that our teacher eventually forbade us from playing.  In fact, the board became so toxic that she actually raffled it away to ensure that it was never in her classroom again.  I actually won the board, though I sincerely doubt it was ever played again. 

Happy Thursday, all. 

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