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.
I was once outsmarted by a chipmunk.
— Her Tall Boots (@fuzzlime) March 8, 2016
One thing was certain, for gameplay to commence, the field had to be pristine.
one time my dad used his homemade ouija board to put a hex on his neighbor who hadn’t mowed his lawn in 4 weeks
— Sunshine Jarboly (@SunshineJarboly) October 23, 2018
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.
Like an amulet, but it’s your Aunt Dottie’s love of squirrels.
— Mrs. Fitz (@PFitzpa) October 16, 2018
If Herm had ever written down the rules, he would have followed this advice, with gusto.
The people with the real answers write in caps lock.
— Jackson Crawford (@Norsebysw) September 26, 2015
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.
Sure you may think my efforts are futile now, but I assure you that I have yet to reach levels of futility.
— antisocialsocialist (@gobmentcheese) October 4, 2018
For those who never experienced such a moment, there was an alternative.
But have you tried a hot tub time machine? I know it seems obvious but maybe that will solve everything.
— Cat From Nowhe®e (@kv8) October 10, 2018
Please see Rule 105B, Section 43 for more information on this.
How many school buses should you attempt to jump on your dirt bike on the first date?
— Thrill Hicks (@thrillhicks) October 10, 2018
One could always spot the pros by the commitment they brought to the game.
I don’t think I’m going to take my socks off for showers anymore.
— Pasta Fazool (@chrisdowning) April 13, 2017
Though even the best had other interests.
Sex robots? I think a more lucrative avenue would be pretty robots that listen intently while someone explains the Marvel universe in minute detail.
— Jack Boot (@IamJackBoot) November 7, 2018
And more opponents than just those they faced on the field.
you’d be shocked at how mad I am about zippers right now
— Böb Jänke (@Bob_Janke) November 7, 2018
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.
You’ll love my new book. It’s only 27 pages. All the pages are numbered “27.” It could only be three, or it could be 3,000 pages, I don’t know.
Probably 23, though.
— FRONT TOWARD ENEMY (@armyVet1972) November 1, 2018
Though in such situations, whomever he was conversing with had a hard time hiding his true feelings about what Herm was laying down.
Instead of nodding in conversation to show that I am listening and understand your point, I will now start flinching and screaming.
— Wondering (@stillwondering1) November 3, 2018
Especially when he mentioned that the ghost stories could actually result in a continuation of gameplay.
When a spirit reveals itself to you it’s now your responsibility to help solve their murder and ease their suffering so they can transition to the great beyond.
This knowledge was bestowed to me from a comic book in the 6th grade.
— Mable Gertrude (@MableGertrude) November 5, 2018
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.
You think David Lee Roth worries about dangling modifiers?
— Al Dente (@six_2_and_even) November 2, 2018
He could always take solace in this, though.
Despite my best efforts, it’s gonna be alright.
— Burning Mom (@MomOnFire) November 4, 2018
Also in this.
I’m making changes in my life one bad decision at a time.
— Sadie Smith 2.0 (@SadieSkyNinja) October 18, 2018
And when there was no solace to be found, he could turn his eyes toward the heavens.
Praying for a Z class solar flare
— Hopelessballs McGinty (@IronballsMcGinT) November 1, 2018
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.
There are still good people out there. Knowing who they are is the first step to being able to avoid them.
— Tony™ 🐜🍯 (@tsm560) October 28, 2018
It wasn’t just about the game, but the experiences the participants would gather along the way.
I hope my kids are dying to hear my detailed thoughts on blood spatter patterns when they get home from school
— Anna Grace (@graceupongracie) October 23, 2018
Though not all the experiences were positive.
I was bitten on my head by a spider. It didn’t kill me or give me super powers. The whole thing is just bullshit.
— heather lou* (@heatherlou_) October 15, 2018
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.
[me to lady in haunted house down the street] your cats are adorable and that doll is lovely
— Olive Gravy (@offbeatoliv) October 30, 2018
For some, the game became a family tradition, one passed down through the generations.
I don’t flirt with disaster. I make a commitment. I marry it, bring it home and make disaster babies.
— Henry 3000 (@Henry_3000) October 20, 2018
Please direct the second player to Rule 9, Section 94, Clause IIC-12. This is a clear violation.
please don’t come at me with a knife, cause most likely I was going to come at you with a knife first & now I just look unoriginal
— Grant Tanaka (@GrantTanaka) October 17, 2018
Unlike houses built upon such land, Herm’s game was best played in areas like this.
My murder plot has taken over the back yard.
— TattleTaleSister Ⓥ (@TattleTSister) October 24, 2018
That’s where the seasoned professionals got their strength.
Update: I can no longer be killed by fire.
— Insignificant Funds (@4SLars) October 13, 2018
Never say, wait, actually, go ahead. Taking no prisoners is allowed in certain circumstances.
Come on, death is always an option.
— J™ (@CommonSavant) October 31, 2018
This is always allowed. Encouraged, even.
I’m going to start spelling it “daemon” and hope for something righteous to happen.
— Gretchen von Tongeln (@Metalligretch) October 3, 2018
On the other hand, there were reasons that the tree-lined field was superior to the yurt when it came preferences for location.
there are, like, 23 crows feasting on acorns in my tree and I named them all Woes. hey! you crows woes I truly hope you are enjoying your squawky dinner party
— taffy bennington ◬ (@singwithTaffy) October 18, 2018
Sometimes at night, Herm would lay awake wondering if the game was dangerous enough.
Nothing more unnerving than a shaky ceiling fan over your bed. And yet I’m too lazy to do anything about it.
— Jingle Bell Jawbreaker 🎄 (@sixfootcandy) February 26, 2015
He always decided it wasn’t.
I already know where I’m scattering your ashes so just die already.
— LTB (@_Tempo11) November 6, 2018
Fortunately, it wasn’t all totally bewildering. It was fairly easy to spot new talent.
Here, let me repeat your mistakes.
— Type O-Meg (@MegHieronymus) October 31, 2018
Oh, and there were cheerleaders, ones befitting the chaos taking place on the field or occasionally in the yurt.
Dance like everyone’s shooting at your feet.
— кєℓℓαℓєηα (@topaz_kell) October 24, 2018
And there were the superstars, ones causing the chaos taking place on the field or occasionally in the yurt.
“I never sleep,” I whisper to my nemesis, “and have the attention span of a puppy.”
— Crow Magnom (@distracted_monk) November 9, 2018
So did Herm. It was a feature, and a bug.
I come from the “Laissez-faire” school of management.
— Nonchalant Charlotte (@jellybnbonanza) October 25, 2018
This may have played a part in Herm’s creation. It’s unclear in the unwritten official biography of the man and his achievements.
Can’t, finding a way to straight up directly inhale chemtrails
— Swim Jeans👖 (@ShortSleeveSuit) October 30, 2018
As for the losers, well, they had to be dispatched with. Fortunately, there were a variety of options.
Funny story. See…haha…we buried it, because it wouldn’t burn.
— Annie Hatfield (@HatfieldAnne) October 27, 2018
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.
In a hotel room, lazily dangling one leg over the arm of this chair and this is the closest I’ll get to being a rock star.
— Jeff Newton (@yonewt) March 27, 2016