As we sat down for our Christmas meal at home, just the five of us, Hal announced we were going to play the quiet game. He did this in a very loud voice.
Daryl responded by stating that he wasn’t playing. Hal triumphantly announced in an even louder voice, “Bubba is out! He talked!”
“So you are out too!” Jane said.
“Oh! Sissy is out!”
“So are you! You talked!” she protested.
“No, I was just announcing who was out. I get to do that. I’m letting everyone know when people are out.”
“But it’s obvious when people are out, Hal. We can all hear them speak,” I said. “We don’t need you to tell us.”
“Ok, ok. We’re starting over. Quiet game! Starting now!”
“Whatever…” muttered Jane.
“Sissy is out!” Hal yelled, pointing accusingly at his sister.
“So are you!” she said.
“Ok, let’s start over. We’re starting over everyone.”
“You can’t just keep starting over every time you get out, Hal.”
“Well, we are starting over.”
“Daddy, can you pass me the butter?” Daryl asked.
“Bubba is out,” whispered Hal. Then he looked around at us as we all stifled laughs and I pointed a silent finger at him. “No, it’s ok to whisper. This is the quiet game where you get to whisper.”
Before long, and after several more restarts and declarations of the acceptability of whispering or whatever non-silent activity Hal was engaged in, Daryl and Daddy had both spoken and Hal’s whisper soon rose to an arguably non-whisper hyperactive level. Everyone was holding their sides and trying not to fall off their chair from laughing. I looked at Jane and made a silent congratulatory hand motion that caught Hal’s eye.
“Mommy is out!”
“She didn’t speak,” Daryl said.
“She’s still out! I win!”
“You spoke. You are out,” I said.
“Well, you spoke too. Ok, let’s start over!”
“No, Jane won.”
“No, we are starting over. This time it’s ok to talk.”
“This is the quiet game where you get to talk as loud as you want.”
I stared incredulously and silently at my husband, who returned the look until he dissolved into laughter as Hal and then Daryl began to sing and make nonsense noises at the top of their lungs. The quiet game sure has changed since I was a kid.