Under the Green Desk Lamp…
Many of us have fond childhood memories of ‘Guess Who’, that old and brittle game of identifying faces. Of course, by ‘identifying’, we really mean a brisk, yes/no question-race to hastily break someone down into a unique list of physical traits…forever proving to your opponent that you are smarter, more deductive, and vastly superior at placing people into tiny, individual sized boxes.
I tend to play a lot more childish games than most, and already I’ve begun to see the chinks in its heretofore impenetrable armour.
Does your person have…
A bald head?
Are they a boy?
Are they a girl?
And somewhere around there—or perhaps well before—it begins to get sort of awkward. Kids’ faces begin to scrunch up, and you can almost see them wondering, “How do I say this?”
Children balk at many of the potential questions… and refuse others entirely. Often, I’ve seen them cringe when I ask if their person has dark skin. Blush when I ask about baldness.
I expect the day is not entirely distant when I ask if their person is a girl, and am told that they clearly cannot just assume that.
Ultimately, ‘Guess Who’ in its original form may become almost entirely unplayable.
And perhaps that’s for the best. After all, the game is essentially a race to put labels on people and break them down into the sum of a few notable parts. These days—fortunately—children are increasingly taught not to do this. Eventually (aside from some of the clever expansion sheets the game has available) the basic ‘Guess Who’ will devolve into a chilling stalemate of uncertainty and checked assumptions, until it is finally flipped over, and the children are grounded.
Just like Monopoly.
-Brad OH Inc.