We like to play “The Animal Game” at dinnertime. It’s a variation of Twenty Questions “made up” by OmegaDotter. Her buddy A. enjoys playing the game when he’s spending the night, which he is doing tonight. Thus, we had a round of The Animal Game to enjoy.
A. started off, but the dotter guessed his animal in record time—an owl.
“It’s a screech owl!” quoth A.
“Oh, then it’s Lady Gaga!” quoth OmegaDad.
I slapped OmegaDad on the arm. “She doesn’t screech,” I said.
“She does too!” was the response.
Next up was OmegaDotter. She always starts with, “This animal has eyes.” Which makes OmegaDad and I roll our own eyes, because it’s useless as a clue. But we moved on…does it live on land or sea?…is it bigger than A.?…does it have fur?
“Yes,” answered the dotter.
“Oh, then it’s Lady Gaga!” shouted OmegaDad triumphantly.
I slapped him again. OmegaDotter rolled her eyes. A. fell down laughing. (Hey, it doesn’t take too terribly much to amuse 8-year-olds. Or fifty-year-olds, for that matter…)
The dotter stumped us with that one, because we forgot to ask if it was extinct or not; it was a mammoth.
She went again, starting—of course—with “this animal has eyes.” There was a question as to whether it ate other animals. A. wisely recited their teacher’s rhyme about how to distinguish predators from prey (“Eyes on the side, they like to hide; eyes to the front, they like to hunt”). Then he took to helping the dotter, because she wasn’t very sure about aspects of her animal.
Somewhere along the line, of course, OmegaDad had to ask if it was Lady Gaga.
OmegaDotter got very frustrated at this point, and proclaimed that he was no longer allowed to use those words together for at least two hours.
OmegaDad won that one, at which point the dotter and A. both grumbled, because they knew his animals are hard to guess, mostly due to tricksy initial clues that send you haring off in the wrong direction. Luckily, because my husband’s mind is an open book to me, I was able to guess his animal—a pine bark borer beetle. Both the dotter and A. were disgruntled at this, saying that they had no idea what that animal was. So OmegaDad got to go again. But he passed his turn on to me.
I took a cue from the dotter: “This animal has eyes.” Hah!
So they asked if it lived on land or sea—land.
They asked if it was a mammal—I said yes.
They asked if it was a wild animal—I had to think about this, but eventually said no.
Did it live in trees? No.
Did it have fur? No.
Did it have hair? Yes.
Was it bigger than A.? Yes.
Do people own it as a pet? I answered no.
Are people allowed to own it as a pet? No.
At which point, OmegaDad, having seen my slight smile while I was debating the “wild animal” question, asked, “Is this animal a human being?” Yes.
And A. burst out, loudly, “Is it Lady Gaga?!”
Har. That’s my tale of our brush with the Fame Monster, and a slice of (silly, pointless, fun, and boring to those outside the family) life around our dinner table.