One of the things Santa brought us this year was a game called “Mad Gab”. This game has nonsense phrases printed on cards. Just looking at the phrases, they don’t make any sense, but if you read them aloud and listen to the sounds, then you’ll hear a new phrase that makes sense. For example, here’s a card that says “Owe Watery Lee Fit His”. Say it out loud, and you’ll hear the familiar words “Oh, what a relief it is.” (Plop plop, fizz fizz…). Likewise, “Bay Beak Hair Its” becomes “Baby carrots,” and “Hut Sin Riff Her,” becomes “Hudson River.”
This game must be a real right brain/left brain kind of thing, because it’s possible to read the words on your card, read them aloud, and yet not hear the target phrase encoded in the sounds. The other people in the game don’t have the words in front of them, so they often hear the target phrase as clear as a bell – because they’re not getting their left brain hung up on all those written symbols. It’s a funny thing to see someone read their card over and over again, and not hear the sounds that they’re saying.
Now, as you might expect that when a group playing this kind of game includes a couple of young girls, there’s going to be lots of giggling, laughing, rolling on the floor, and that kind of thing. When Wendy, Summer, and Bryn played the game last night, that’s exactly what happened, but when I joined the game, things seemed to reach a new level, at least for Bryn.
Maybe it was because Bryn had never seen her Daddy do something so silly as read out these nonsense phrases. Maybe it was because I read them – to quote Wendy – “Like you’re reading from the Bible.” (I guess I was overly serious in trying to decipher my phrases.) Maybe it was because ol’ Dad was kind of slow on the uptake, and had to think very hard over even the easiest phrases. Or maybe it was because I was just having fun, like when I had the phrase “Wrote Ate Shirt Hires” and I intentionally mis-guessed “Road apes for hire.” (I did eventually get it right with “Rotate your tires.”)
By the time I got to my last card, Bryn was laughing in anticipation – all I did was look at my card, raise my eyebrows, and she was in stitches. And when I read my four words, “Abe Lay Dug Razz”, I was afraid we were going to have to call for an ambulance. I read the card a few more times, just to be sure, and Bryn was rolling on the floor howling. Even when I guessed the right phrase it didn’t break the spell. I could still say “Aaaaaabe” and off she would go again into another silly fit.
We’re going to play again tonight, but I’m not sure we should let Bryn watch the game. I’m not sure she can handle it.