This Week In Weird Twitter, Volume 117

This Week In Weird Twitter, Volume 117

There once was a man from Nantucket, but he played no part in any of this, despite the tales you may have heard of him. No, this story originated in the wild frontier of one of those plains states, I forget which one. It started when a sharp-dressed fellow with an exemplary widow’s peak decided to create a new game, albeit one without much formality.

There were some rules, if not ones that could be described as offering clarity. The first rule was that participants had to tell people about it. It’s hard to recruit others if you can’t talk about what you’re recruiting them for. The second involved lychee fruit. That was usually the point in which people became extremely confused.

For one, the purpose of the lychee fruit was nebulous at best. For another, most games don’t involve fruits, except in snack form after the game is over. Regardless, let’s move on for the moment and get into the third rule, which stated that gameplay would continue until there was a clear winner, except in situations in which the players decided to move on and drink cold ones underneath the trees lining the playing field before a clear winner emerged. In situations in which there was no playing field nor trees, they could instead retire to a yurt and tell ghost stories involving Grover Cleveland and Lamont from “Sanford and Son” while drinking cold ones.

Details about where to find either a tree-lined field or a yurt were not disclosed in the official unwritten rule book, though the rules regarding scoring were. For every crate, teams received 11 points. If the crate had holes in it, however, teams only received 5.87 points. The opposing team could steal and fill in the holes in the crate and turn the total up to 11. Whomp-ums were worth either 15 or 37 points. Defenestrations earned the defenestrating team one billion points, while the defenestrated would get an extra time out and substitution, which were strictly limited to a secret number decided by the refs at the start of each match.

This is where things got really tricky, as the refs were usually raccoons because Herm, inventor of the game, maintained a raccoon army in his spare time, if you could call it that. Building and training a raccoon army is a little more labor intensive than creating the game of, well, Herm never got around to naming it. Sometimes, genius is its own worst enemy, though in this case we’re not talking about genius, but at least no chipmunks were involved. Those little guys ruin everything.


One thing was certain, for gameplay to commence, the field had to be pristine.


In events in which the raccoon army was out on a raid, there was an allowable alternative, though their size impeded their ability to officiate effectively.


If Herm had ever written down the rules, he would have followed this advice, with gusto.


On more than one occasion, new players would question what it was they were doing. The lucky ones, or “the cursed” as Herm called them, would have a moment of Zen and realize exactly what they were doing.


For those who never experienced such a moment, there was an alternative.


Please see Rule 105B, Section 43 for more information on this.


One could always spot the pros by the commitment they brought to the game.


Though even the best had other interests.


And more opponents than just those they faced on the field.


Sometimes Herm would pretend that he’d finally settled in and written the rules down. Fittingly, his description was as confusing as the rules, or “rules,” themselves.


Though in such situations, whomever he was conversing with had a hard time hiding his true feelings about what Herm was laying down.


Especially when he mentioned that the ghost stories could actually result in a continuation of gameplay.


One thing was certain, the rules of grammar were as flexible as Herm’s rules when it came to attempting to describe the proceedings. Also, there were jump kicks.


He could always take solace in this, though.


Also in this.


And when there was no solace to be found, he could turn his eyes toward the heavens.


Even though the first rule was to spread the word, there was a clause that somewhat limited how much spreading would actually go down. They had to have standards, you know.


It wasn’t just about the game, but the experiences the participants would gather along the way.


Though not all the experiences were positive.


At least most were educational, like learning that Grover and Lamont had started a spin-off dedicated to rescuing strays. Of course, Elizabeth was there.


For some, the game became a family tradition, one passed down through the generations.


Please direct the second player to Rule 9, Section 94, Clause IIC-12. This is a clear violation.


Unlike houses built upon such land, Herm’s game was best played in areas like this.


That’s where the seasoned professionals got their strength.


Never say, wait, actually, go ahead. Taking no prisoners is allowed in certain circumstances.


This is always allowed. Encouraged, even.


On the other hand, there were reasons that the tree-lined field was superior to the yurt when it came preferences for location.


Sometimes at night, Herm would lay awake wondering if the game was dangerous enough.


He always decided it wasn’t.


Fortunately, it wasn’t all totally bewildering. It was fairly easy to spot new talent.


Oh, and there were cheerleaders, ones befitting the chaos taking place on the field or occasionally in the yurt.


And there were the superstars, ones causing the chaos taking place on the field or occasionally in the yurt.


So did Herm. It was a feature, and a bug.


This may have played a part in Herm’s creation. It’s unclear in the unwritten official biography of the man and his achievements.


As for the losers, well, they had to be dispatched with. Fortunately, there were a variety of options.


The thing about oral traditions is that they can die. Unless someone half-paying attention comes along to chronicle them. For posterity or maybe just because they didn’t have anything better to do. This, all of this, is likely an example of the latter.

Regardless, chronicled it has been, though not in a manner that allows anyone to play Herm’s creation or even have a vague idea about what it entailed. That is probably for the better, for when Herm did sit down with such a chronicler to detail the fruits of his labor, he was not ready for the reply he received.

“Man, you didn’t create that. You just described cricket, as best as it can be described, though you made up some new words for sticky widget and whatnot. Regardless, how you gonna create a game that’s existed for hundreds of years? Get out with that nonsense.”

And Herm did get out, never to be seen again, at least not at that establishment. For he would not give up that night, or ever. Instead, he retired to his room to get some rest, focus on his myriad achievements, and also work on a battle hymn for his raccoon army. Tomorrow, his quest would continue. He had his lucky bat to carry him through, after all.

Richard Cromwell is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter, @rcromwell4.
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