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The Game

January 26, 2015

Back in college, my friends and I used to play “The Game”.  We still do.

You can’t get away from The Game.  Once you learn it, you’re stuck with it.  Read on at your own risk.

My friend, Keith, taught us The Game.  Today is Keith’s 50th birthday.  (Happy birthday, Keith!)  I thought writing a blog story in honor of Keith would be a good way to honor Keith and our friendship.

Background) My junior year of college at Lewis University, I got an opportunity to be the Resident Assistant (R.A.) at Cody Hall.  Cody Hall was a new dormitory in the housing program at Lewis that year. I was one of the first two R.A.’s there, a distinction I shared with my good friend, Kim.  Kim and I worked under the leadership of Dorm Directory and friend, Joelyn.  It was a golden opportunity to create something special for those that lived there, and in the eyes of many of us, we did.  I met Keith that fall (late August 1986).

Keith was a character.  I learned a lot from Keith, but it wasn’t all good.  He had dubbed himself “The King Sausage”.  Don’t ask me to explain why.  He fancied himself quite the ladies’ man.  He used to go in search of “Monkey Women” for what he called “Bunga Bunga”.  Don’t ask me to explain why.  I’ll leave that to your imagination.  Suffice it to say that we had lots of amusement and laughs with Keith around.

I started a flag football team that fall and we won the championship that year.  I was the team quarterback.  Keith was a key player on that team, and one of the most gifted natural athletes I’ve ever played with. In addition to playing cornerback on defense, Keith was one of my wide receivers.  We earned each other’s respect on the field and connected on some great plays and touchdowns that year.  I wrote previously about my flag football experience memories at Lewis University in my blog story, We Are The Champions.


“The Game”, of which I write, is a brotherly and playful game that has the ability to create brotherly bonds.  At least that is what it did for many of us who played it. Keith taught it to me and others, and we passed it on to many of the others who lived with us at Cody Hall the next few years.  I’m glad Keith shared it with me as it helped us to become friends, and create friendships that many of us still enjoy.

Object: The object of the ongoing game is to slug the other players in the arm as much as possible. That’s it, I think. If there is another object, other than the side effect of creating brotherly bonds of friendship, I’m not aware of it.  But you have to earn the right to slug another player in the arm.  You earn that right by catching another player in violation of one of the 3 game rules.


Artist’s simulation: Ed gets an arm slug from Keith with his brother Michael looking on


Here are the 3 rules:

Rule 1) If you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger and put it below the level of your waist like as shown in the photo below and you get the other player to look down directly at the circle with their unprotected eye, you get to slug them in the arm as shown in the image above.


Oh, yeah! If you looked at the circle without your protective eye circle, and you’re not sitting down, I owe you one!



The only safe way to look at the circle the other player made is through a protective circle that you place over your eye as shown in the photo below:


Ed demonstrates the protective eye circle



There is a valid defense for looking directly at the circle without the protective eye circle. That defense is if you are sitting or laying down.  You can’t get caught violating this rule if you are sitting or laying down. You have to be standing up and look at the circle without the protective eye circle to violate this rule.

Players get pretty creative in how they lure the other players to look down directly at their circle.  The element of surprise works best.  I’ve fallen victim to many a ruse over the years in the name of catching me violating this rule.

Rule 2) If you fart such that another player hears or smells it, you better say the word “Safety” to protect yourself, otherwise if another player says “Box 6” (I have no idea why this is the phraseology, it just is) before you say the world “Safety”, then the player that said “Box 6” in response to the fart gets to slug the player who farted in the arm as shown in the image previously shown.

Rule 3) If you get another player to say the word “What” by itself, then you get to slug the other player in the arm as shown in the image previously shown.   One can say the word “What” in a sentence, but just not be itself.  For instance, if player A says “Hey, Joe”, and player B says “What?”, then player A gets to slug player B in the arm.  If player B had said “What do you want?”, rather than just “What?”, there would be no violation of this rule.  This rule is somewhat constructive in getting players to lose the poor habit of saying “What” by itself, in favor of more polite, proper and intelligent responses.


If you catch another player in violation of any of these 3 rules, it is customary to say “Oh, yeah!” and then proceed to slug them in the arm.


I run into my friends from Cody Hall on occasion, and they still try to catch me violating these rules.  I confess – I try to catch them too.  One has to be on guard when encountering another person that they know is a player of The Game.

I KNOW!  This is probably the DUMBEST GAME EVER.

But, somehow, some way, it works.   It helped us to form brotherly bonds with our dorm mates, and make friendships that will last a lifetime.

Happy 50th Birthday, to my friend, Keith.  I am thankful for his friendship, and his leadership that helped to form some of my best friendships in life.  May he have many more years ahead — I owe him a lot of arm slugs.


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