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The other night, we were at a friend’s for a (nice) party and started playing Pictionary. We didn’t use the game, but came up, in two teams, with (sometimes wacky) words and expressions, then went at it. And how. I hadn’t played in a long while, but let me tell you, people get inflamed playing this game. And it’s not just competition.
Take, for example, the Simpsons episode where Milhouse’s parents (Kirk and Luann) split up:
Kirk: Ah, come on Luanne, you know what this is.
Luanne: Kirk, I don’t know what it is.
Kirk: [sighs] It could not be more simple, Luanne. You want me to show this to the cat, and have the cat tell you what it is? ‘Cause the cat’s going to get it.
Luanne: I’m sorry, I’m not as smart as you, Kirk. We didn’t all go to Gudger College.
Kirk: It’s dignity! Gah! Don’t you even know dignity when you see it?
Luanne: Kirk, you’re spitting.
Kirk: Okay, genius, why don’t you draw dignity.
[she does so]
[everyone gasps in recognition — we can’t see it, however]
Dr. Hibbert: Worthy of Webster’s.
The thing is, Pictionary is one of those rare games where communication is the goal. And two of the thing that irks us most are: not being understood and not understanding. Especially when it comes to that special someone, who usually happens to be on the same team.
As in everyday life, we tend to express ourselves in a way that make sense, from our point of view. The same thing with Pictionary: we tend to draw things that we would understand. And to see the drawing, of course, from our perspective. It takes a conscious effort to work from the other’s point of view. And we tend to think that, if we have a special bond with someone, they’ll share our perspective, at least more than most, and understand us readily. The opposite of which, at least for trivial matters, comes to light through exercises like Pictionary.
And in couples, a lot of the problems have to do with communication, or lack thereof more precisely. Not that all problems are based on a lack of communication, but communication plays an important role in making things better or worst – usually the latter.
Add competition, maybe a bit of alcohol, and the lack of expressive restraint that trivial matters tend to give us, and you have an explosive cocktail.
Fortunately, no one was hurt at that party, although we did discover that one of us was psychic (how do you guess “crack whore” from “woman with penis”?).