Here’s the deal…
Allow me to explain my hiatus. I’ve been to a number of specialists and they are in general agreement that I am suffering from a case of advanced, acute laziness. It is, in fact, all the energy I can muster to merely type out that I can barely muster the energy to write about the fact that I have just enough energy to type just that. And yet I press on. Am I a hero? Yeah. Probably.
So, what’s up with hangman? Sure, we all played it growing up, but did we ever stop to think about what we were doing?
“Hey, I thought of a word. Guess what it is.”
“Because if you don’t, I’ll tie a rope around this man’s neck and hang him until his body twitches and writhes in agony before swinging limp and lifeless above your poorly guessed letters.”
What are we teaching our children? If you don’t know the most commonly used vowels and consonants, people will die. It’s an incredibly morbid little game. I don’t see anyone playing Guillotine Tic Tac Toe or Lethal Injection Sudoku, and yet it’s fine for the youngest among us to sketch the agonizing, painful strangulation as the jugular vein and carotid arteries block the blood flow to the brain leading to a slow and grisly journey to death’s door. Yes, with each incorrect guess, the child adds a body part to the condemned – taking on the disturbing role of executioner. And victory for one of the game’s participants comes only with the death of the stick man whose sole crime was being drawn into his own murder.
Plus there’s the fact that there isn’t an established set of rules. Some people will draw feet and hands and even a face! What the heck, why not add a wardrobe and let your opponent guess the whole alphabet. It’s a circle head, line body, two line arms, and two line legs – that’s it, people. This isn’t a game of charity. Lives are at stake here.
And then there’s the fact that hangman lead to one of America’s longest running game shows – Wheel of Fortune. Perhaps the wheel isn’t a bad thing in theory, but in reality it is as unnatural as the pencil and paper game from which it spawned. In the 1980’s, Pat Sajak and Vanna White inked a deal with an ancient coven which granted them the right to age at one third the rate of a an actual human being in return for increase ad revenues for centuries to come. Long after you and I have gone the way of that poor hanged man, Vanna will be turning t’s and a’s for some good, clean, wholesome, demonic fun.
So the next time you’re thinking about an educational game of medieval capital punishment word guess bonanza with your offspring, consider the ramifications. Sure, good parenting can be a pain in the neck (forgive my gallows’ humor), but aren’t our children worth the effort? Shouldn’t we preserve their innocence? Shan’t we strive to make their educational games gruesome death free?
Because, frankly, the children are the f_t_re. And it’s not possible without (I’d like to buy a vowel) you.