Tuesday, March 5, 2013


In any small, close-knit community of strange people thousands of miles away from civilization, strange patterns and habits develop.  After many months together with limited options for entertainment, silly traditions and games are invented to help pass the time and amuse each other. 

Here at Palmer, we have "Foodgame".

The objective of Foodgame is to smack food out of someone else's hand while they're eating, and yell "Foodgame!" at the same time.  The sort-of objective of food game was initially to get people to stop eating food with their hands like neanderthals, and to encourage the use of silverware.  So there are rules to Foodgame;
  • The target must be eating the food with JUST their hands.  If they're using silverware, they're off limits.
  • Freshies are off-limits as well. (less clear is if the food just contains freshies, such as a sandwich)
  • You cannot touch their hands in any way during the Foodgaming; You can only touch the food itself.
  • Only active Foodgame participants are targets; do not Foodgame non-combatants.
  • The way to get involved in Foodgame is to attempt to Foodgame someone.  Successful or not, after your first attempt, you're in and are a potential target.
  • Once in Foodgame, you're in for life.
  • If you are Foodgamed, you're not allowed to get angry about it.
  • If you Foodgame someone else, you have to help clean up the mess.
  • If someone successfully dodges an attempted Foodgame, they're off limits for the rest of the day.
The most epic Foodgame attack ever was on "Soup in a Bread Bowl" night; the victim had raised the bread bowl to their mouth to take a sip from it, and a perfectly timed hit sprayed soup all over them and the wall/ceiling.  A close second was on Sushi night, when a smacked sushi roll disintegrated mid-air and splattered over half the dining room.

Needless to say, not everyone thought Foodgame was as hilarious as the participants did.  Partly out of reaction to the sometimes-cruel Foodgame, an alternate meal-time game was developed; the Plate-Stealing game.  Because Foodgame was mean, the objective of this new game was to be as nice as possible to someone.

Plate-stealing game started as just that; when someone has finished their meal and is still sitting at the table, you attempt to steal their dirty dishes, and then wash them.  But it's gone up from that to include forced acts of kindness; peeling someone's orange for them when they aren't looking, sneakily refilling their drink, etc.  I've gotten up to get more napkins a few times and returned to find my pork chop has been cut up into nice little pieces for me.

But the point of Plate-Stealing game is that you have to be sneaky about it, and you have to make a serious attempt to prevent it from happening to you.  You can't just say "Oh, I'm going to look away, I hope no one steals my plate . . . ", because that's no fun.  You've got to guard your dirty plates, fight off any attempts to steal them, while successfully stealing other people's plates. 

You know, so you can do their dishes for them.  Sneakily.

. . . it makes more sense when you're actually here, I promise.