Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Password Is . . .

Remember the game show Password? I loved it. My brothers and I were devoted to game shows in our childhood. Our all-time favorite was Match Game, which we attempted to recreate with the neighborhood urchins whenever possible.

I used to have cassette tapes of some of our do-it-yourself Match Game episodes (taping yourself on a tape recorder was a big thing back in the day) — wow, I would give a lot to hear one of those again! But alas, like sands through the hourglass . . . well, I think I'm losing my grip on that metaphor, but anyway, those records of our genius are long gone, who knows where.

But I am excited to see that next Sunday, ABC is offering a three-hour block of game shows: Match Game, Family Feud, and $100,000 Pyramid! I have high hopes, especially for the latter. Constant Readers know that I love few things more than a good party game, and Pyramid has become one of my favorites. Nothin' but good times ahead!

Jeopardy and Pyramid are constants at my own parties, and Mrs. Cynicletary and I have also done versions of Match Game, Family Feud, and Let's Make a Deal for the work parties we co-hosted for years. I've become newly enamored of Password over the years, and I plan to play it at the next party I host.

Which leads to today's challenge. Husband and I were driving home from a bittersweet lunch date (more on this in a moment), and I said, "Let's play Password." He sighed and said, "Sure." (Playing games with me is not always so fun for him — we think about things so differently, making us very bad partners for charades or Pictionary, where you really have to be in sync with your partner. However, we are well-matched for Trivial Pursuit and Cranium, where our different knowledge areas complement each other. It's good to know these things.)

Here are the clues I gave him:






And I've told this story so often now, I honestly can't remember if he guessed it at "pink" or if I broke down and told him.

How my mind works: There is ONE iconic summer fruit, in my opinion. You go to a picnic or barbecue, there is ONE fruit that is always there, front and center. If you didn't get it after "summer," you should definitely get it after "rind."

How his mind works: The fruit in question is something he loathes. He prefers to live in a world where said fruit does not exist. Ergo, it would never cross his mind as the answer to a game question, never, never, never, not even if I spelled it for him.

How my mother's mind works: One clue at a time, paying no attention to any other clues. Her guesses were fruit: apple, summer: peach, rind: orange or grapefruit, seeds: orange or grapefruit, pink: pink grapefruit.

How other people's minds work: There are lots of summer fruits, but so far everyone else has guessed it after "rind."

When choosing your championship team for Password, this might be a good screening tool!

And here's why the lunch on the day in question was bittersweet . . .

I've mentioned Mrs. Professor, my elderly friend, before. I've been friends with her for about a decade, and we have lunch together every few months. Last fall she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, though she was doing pretty well, but then the cancer began to spread; she finally decided to stop chemo and call hospice. We had lunch every couple of weeks after that, and she was still doing pretty well. But on May 27, she fell out of bed, stopped breathing, and that was that. She died in her son Brian's arms.

I will always remember the date because I was having dinner with Mrs. Cynicletary that night, the kick-off to her big birthday weekend, and my minister called me while we were eating. She wanted to let me know personally, knowing how close Mrs. Professor and I were.

I spoke briefly at her eulogy, and afterward I was asked to serve the coffee at her collation, the role that had traditionally been hers. It was such an honor.

And on Monday, Husband and I went to the restaurant where Mrs. Professor and I always had lunch. She seemed to know everyone there, and I wanted to make sure they knew what had happened.

She was fierce, stubborn, generous, frank, smart, and funny as hell. She was a great broad. I adored our friendship, and I will miss her forever.

By the way, when I was serving coffee at her memorial service, I got caught up in a story I was telling, and a man who wanted coffee decided to serve himself rather than wait for me to notice him. I heard Mrs. Professor in my ear, barking, "Lady! Pay attention!" Too funny.

I will end there.

Arggh!!! Death is the worst.


  1. I am sorry for your loss.
    Password. Split Second. Joker's Wild (easy to play with a deck of cards). Match Game. Pyramid of any $ (made an Excel version). How I miss thee, Nipsey Russell. I got it with "rind," strawberry is my go to summer fruit.

    1. Thank you.

      How do I not know Split Second? I remember Joker's Wild (was that Wink Martindale?) — and yes, Nipsey was outstanding. Ah, the greats.

      I MIGHT let you play on my Password team. I know that you would understand the importance of winning at all costs, but after two margaritas I think you might lose focus. We would need to practice. Both Password and margarita-drinking. Game on!

    2. The Joker's Wild host was Jack Barry, but the best part was the call of the wheels, "Joker, Joker ... $50." Darn. Tom Kennedy hosted Split Second. Jack is long dead, but Tom lives on.

    3. Husband said that Split Second was one of his favorites too. How do I not remember this one?? Must investigate.

      Ah, yes, Jack Barry of Quiz Show Scandal fame. I can picture him perfectly now. His part was very well cast in the Ralph Fiennes movie, as I recall.

  2. I got it at Summer.
    My sister and I and our neighborhood girlfriends LOVED Match Game. I had the biggest crush on Richard Dawson, although he annoyed me greatly in later years when he hosted Family Feud. We also loved Tattletales, but I doubt we understood much of the sexual innuendo. My love of game shows must go way back - when I was very young, I stayed with my grandmother a lot and she said I used to say, "Allen Ludden is my friend." Other than that, I was not a weird kid!
    So sorry for your loss. It is hard to lose a great friend.

    1. You are smart and brilliant and my #1 draft pick for my Password team. Next Convention, sistah!

      Oh, man, Tattletales! I had a huge crush on Bert Convey. Just saying his name makes me smile. He was adorable. And yes, totally agree about the different incarnations of Mr. Dawson — loved him on Match Game, was skeeved out by him on Family Feud. But I also liked mentally compiling my dream team for Family Feud — alas, a dream is all it ever was.

      And thank you for your kind words about my friend. She was awesome.

  3. So sorry for the loss of your friend, but I love hearing about your friendship! And it sounds like she's not going to be farther away than your ear, every now and then. :-) I do feel like I'm starting to collect the souls of family and friends who have journeyed on, within my own soul. They decorate and teach and often bring laughter even as I miss the tangible presence.

    I never watched game shows, growing up (you know the reason!) but I have developed a serious pash for What's My Line on YouTube, and I definitely enjoy all the Password episodes I've seen (a recent one had Jimmy Stewart and his with a (twin?) daughter each on their teams; at the break, they switched daughters. What a quick guide to their family dynamics! And, boy, did Mr. and Mrs. S. think completely differently!!!

    I have no idea how I'd do at PW. I only know that if it's BT-themed, I will probably be crummy! LOL!

    Happy Fourth to you and your family!

    Love, SDF

    1. Well, we will soon find out ("soon" being a relative word — I have no immediate hosting plans). Jimmy Stewart, wow! I wonder if I think more like Daddy Stewart or Mommy?

      I'm going to use the word "pash" five times today. Love it! Such a cunning wordsmith you are, my friend.


    2. Believe me, you're Mommy. Sweet Jimmy was terrible!!!

    3. Oh, dear!! But maybe not a total surprise — lightning-fast verbiage was not exactly his thing.

  4. I wish we could edit these comments -- look at that dang stray parenthesis! Grr. -- SDF

    1. Darling, you know I feel your pain. Perfection is not a human option, but oh how we try.

  5. I wish I lived close to you, I would play games every Sunday afternoon. We had game nights in our Kresge unit and one hilarious night we came up with the "The Roommate Game" based on the Newlyweds. Our family favorite, besides the games we played, was "Let's Make a Deal." I still enjoy the puzzle: you pick between three doors, one which has a car and the other two which have goats. Mr. Hall opens up one the doors to reveal a goat and asks you if you would like to switch your pick to the other unopened door. Question: are your odds better if you switch or stay with your first pick or are the odds unchanged?

    1. Husband (aka Heterolifemate)July 2, 2016 at 10:10 AM

      We actually know the answer to this (known as the "Monty Hall Paradox"): your odds are improved if you switch. The key to the puzzle is that Mr. Hall (as you call him) KNOWS where the car is. Of course, my wife would be perfectly happy with a goat, so the whole thing really does kind of fall apart....

    2. I need a goat!!!!

      Zanny, I wish you lived close to me, too. But we're heading your way August 18-20, to take the cherub to college. Are you around, can we hook up???

    3. Alas, no. I will be in Mexico. At the wedding of my brother Ben. If not August, when?

    4. Poo. But how exciting to go to a Mexican wedding!!

      My plan is to take the "Go" bus to visit Mel (whenever I next visit her), then spend the night with you. We will make a plan for sometime in the fall, si? And do so in a more organized way than via comments on my blog posts...

  6. Sorry for the loss of your friend.
    "Death it the worse." *big grin at the sad truth of that*

    Summer fruit is always cherries though.

    "Death *is* the worst."
    Those Death, it the worse" has a certain ring.
    As they say on Tumblr [where I spent most of June],
    "grammar don't real."

  8. "though" not "those"
    What is wrong with my fingers?
    And my eyes?
    And my brain?
    I blame tumblr.

  9. I need that reminder from beyond the grave too:
    "Lady! Pay attention!"
    And now I am signing off before I mess up anymore.

    1. Hee! Well, it was all very entertaining. And if no one ever made writing errors, I wouldn't have a job.

      Enjoy your summer cherries! I have some slightly aging cherries, so yesterday I sliced them, sugared them, let them make juice, and served them over slices of white cake. YUM.