The Storytelling Game

Mention campfires and many will smile wistfully and remember moments spent with family and friends gathered around an open flame. Meals burned and salvaged, nature adventures (both the call of and encounters with) -- the fortunate and not-so-fortunate mishaps were all part of campfire life, but it was the stories that made the camping experience grand.

Some stories told while innocent logs were reduced to ash were claimed to be true, and they had their own place in campfire ceremonies, but the best stories were made up, and the very best were those that were made up on the fly.

In fact, a perfect venue for off-the-cuff storytelling was the family trip, where Dad and Mom would pack the young-unis in the station wagon and set out across country for points known only to Dad and Mom. Back in those days kids didnit have DVD players, iPods, or Nintendo DS to keep them occupied and parents actually had to interact with them. It was a time of bonding, a chance to reacquaint each other with each other, and activities, like The Storytelling Game, helped pass the time. At least in our squeaky clean "Leave It To Beaver" world.

Whatis that? Youire a child of the Computer Generation and you donit know what The Storytelling Game is? We blame your parents for this oversight, but fear not, we are ever eager to elucidate, and what better way to understand how The Storytelling Game is played than by seeing an example, which just so happens to be the centerpiece of this installment of A Cool Waste of Time.

Before we show you how the game is played it may be best to understand the extensive set of rules:

  • You need at least two people to play.
  • Umm...thatis pretty much it.

Someone starts off the story with a sentence, sort of like this: "Once upon a time, in a small fishing town, there lived a man with a..."

The second person continues the story with a sentence of his or her own, like this: "... limp. My cousin Joe and I called him Ahab, but it seemed to us that the man never actually set foot aboard a ship, though he gimped his way along the wharf every morning, swearing at the gulls."

And so on, each person adding bits to the story. Thatis exactly what the folks over on The Wooden Boat Forum have done. Starting with the aforementioned story fragments, theyive woven a tale full of adventure, love lost and found, and very accurate seagulls.

Hereis an excerpt:

"Meanwhile, the still-circling gulls noticed that when viewed from above, Ahabis male pattern baldness created a target pattern..."

"Plop. Then again ... plop. Seemingly pursued by both sloop and gulls, Ahab hobbled quickly along the pier, trying to reach the relative safety of..."

"...the public restroom at the head of the pier.

Just then, Cousin Joe showed up in his..."

"scummy green 1968 VW Beetle semi-automatic, named "Oscar." In itis normal state of slight mechanical distress, Oscar didnit quite stop in time, bumping into the wall of Ahabis chosen retreat..."

"which was liberally coated with beach vulture bombs."

And the story continues on and on. It does end finally, but not before..., youill have to find out for yourself.

Now you know how to play The Storytelling Game. Think of the stories youill tell, the fun youill have!

Yes, itis a waste of time, but sometimes time has to be wasted for the sake of the children. ( It sounded good when we thought of it.)