Letters of Life

Smells Like Teen Spirit

So 13 teenagers were sprawled over my living room on a Saturday afternoon, doing their Chinese New Year rounds.

We played Taboo!, the word game where you describe a series of random words from a deck (e.g “fault”, “rollerblade”, “bitter”) and avoid a list of hints printed on each card, going through the deck in 60 seconds. It’s interesting–their reference points—like how when someone gives a clue like “you use the phone to … ” the first thing they say is ‘text’,and not ‘call.’ Give a 16-year-old a word like “skateboard” to describe and his clue to the team is “Tony Hawk,” which the group gets immediately.

As an aside, this is what English author Nick Hornby had to say about Tony Hawk in his book Slam (2007):

Some of you . . . won’t have heard of Tony Hawk. Well, I’ll tell you, but I have to say that you should know already. Not knowing Tony Hawk is like not knowing Robbie Williams, or maybe even Tony Blair. It’s worse than that, if you think about it. Because there are loads of politicians, and loads of singers, hundreds of TV programmes. George Bush is probably even more famous than Tony Blair, and Britney Spears or Kylie are as famous as Robbie Williams. But there’s only one skater, really, and his name’s Tony Hawk. Well, there’s not only one. But he’s definitely the Big One. He’s the JK Rowling of skaters, the Big Mac, the iPod, the X-box. The only excuse I’ll accept for not knowing TH is that you’re not interested in skating.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, I think Nick Hornby ranks right up there in the pantheon of pop fiction next to, well, JK Rowling.

Back to the gaggle of teens in my living room. There was a restless energy in the room, Timmy was tinkling the keys, Nick doing something rhythmic on the acoustic guitar (he’s really a bass player, and a good one at that). Jen and I were connecting over books and our indifference to free verse (like poetry improvised but more showy), and the rest were going at Charades.

As Tim, 16, would say: “Nice!”

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2 Responses »

  1. hahaha taboo is one of the best boardgames ever! it’s interesting to see how alternate answers/words change with different groups of people!

    my favourite taboo word was alex’s:
    “the place people go to shake legs”
    and his team went: KOPITIAM!!!!!!

    thanks for having us over aunty yuming; it was a blast! 😀

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