When I was about your age, I had a sleepover at my friend Jenny’s house. Jenny is the friend I told Willie I punched in the stomach once, when Jenny was at my house and wouldn’t let me win at Battleship.
The sleepover preceded the punch visit, and it was delightful enough, until Jenny’s mom told us a scary bedtime story. I don’t remember a thing about the story now, except that at one point, Jenny’s mom assumed a weird voice and pointed a lit flashlight at her chin from below, casting her face into a frightening, backlit shadow. Then, as if I weren’t sufficiently terrified, she cackled.
When bedtime came, I told Jenny I was too scared to sleep. She told her mom, who appeared to me in the doorway of Jenny’s bedroom, this time with an acceptable chin and voice. I’m sure Jenny’s mom felt terrible for causing me distress right before bedtime; she’d been trying to be fun, and it had backfired.
Hey! How come everyone’s always asking me about times when I’ve been embarrassed? What is so embarrassing about me?
Well, that photo isn’t too embarrassing because Eliza was dressed up like an animal, too. She likes to do that. See?
Back to your question … I spent Thanksgiving Day 2016 with friends in San Francisco, one of whom brought a board game called Telestrations. Do you know that game? In case you don’t: It’s like Pictionary, where you read a card telling you what picture you are going to draw, then the other people playing get to guess what you drew, and the one who guesses correctly gets to draw the next picture.
Telestrations adds more steps. Every player pulls a card, telling that person what to draw. Everyone draws something at the same time, and each is drawing something different from the other. When it’s time to switch, everyone hands their drawing to the person to their left, and that person has to write what they think their neighbor drew. Then when everyone switches again, the person who sees the guess draws that guess.
I am so predictable on this one. If you lined up any ten of my friends and asked how I would answer this, they would say, all together on the count of three: “Oprah Winfrey!”
But I would want them to yell Oprah’s name the way she yells everyone else’s name: “O … prah … WINFREEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY!” From the first episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on September 8, 1986 to the final show on May 25, 2011, Oprah announced her daily guests in a sing-song yell that was just fantastic … so welcoming and celebratory.
Here’s a video of Oprah yell-singing the names of some of her guests over her twenty-five years of hosting the show:
It must be the best feeling to have Oprah greet you. I’m fortunate because two people in my life shout my name like that: Kenzie and Eliza. It’s funny because I didn’t think they had ever seen The Oprah Winfrey Show, but when those two see me, they yell, “Aunt … KAAAAAAAATIEEEEEEEE!” They act like they are Oprah Winfrey, and I’m a teacher who is about to get a car. I love it.
When your dad, Uncle Brian, Aunt Margie, Aunt Sarah, and I were growing up, Grandma Janet was working on her Ph.D. On weekends, Pops often took us out so Grandma Janet could get some work done.
One such Saturday, Pops took Aunt Margie, Aunt Sarah, and me to the mall. While Pops was looking around in a clothing store, my sisters and I ran up to various mannequins, then staked our claim by tagging the statues and yelling to each other.
I ran up to a mannequin with blonde hair, tapped her shoulder, and yelled, “I get the blonde one!” Aunt Margie ran up to one with brown hair, touched her arm, and yelled, “I get the one with brown hair!” Aunt Sarah ran up to a live, plus-sized woman, wrapped both arms around her waist, and yelled, “I get the fat lady!”