Tuesday, May 24, 2011

RemembeRED: Tickle Monster

We played a lot of games when I was a kid. That is what kids did back then, of course. There was no Nintendo, or Playstation, or Xbox. Children actually had to use their imaginations to come up with ways to have fun. Short of imagination, we just ran around until it was dark.

One of my favorite memories is being at my grandmother’s house during the summer, back when my mother and her siblings were all still speaking to each other, before dementia dragged my grandmother off to her singular hell. I was in high school. There was lots of mischief to be had on a farm, if you know where to look, and when it was just my brother and I, we had lots of things to keep us busy.

My grandparents still did not have air conditioning, so the windows would be open to catch any stray breezes that happened along. There was one television, and it got exactly two channels, neither of them cable. Consequently, all of the grandchildren played outside as much as possible, whenever we visited. When there were family gatherings, all the grandchildren were put together and expected to amuse ourselves. On this particular occasion, it was my grandparents’ fortieth wedding anniversary, so everyone was expected to be there.

I am the oldest grandchild. This had never been brought home to me so forcefully before that summer; I found myself surrounded by what seemed to be thousands of children under the age of ten. This age gap at first appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle to good family relations, but I soon overcame their reservations with my improvisation skills. I made up a game.

It was called Tickle Monster.

The game was simple: I was the Tickle Monster, and I chased little kids. When I caught them, I tickled them. I caught a few of the slower kids as an example. The game was a huge hit. All of my cousins scattered to the four corners of the farm, to hide from the Tickle Monster. Soon I was standing next to the vegetable garden all alone.

I went inside the house, picked up the book I was reading, and dove in. Twenty minutes later, I could hear my little cousins calling for me. They had no idea where I was, and were searching for me near the tool shed.

I put the book down, quietly opened the screen door, and snuck up behind them.

“RARRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!! I jumped out from behind the water tank. Little squeals, followed by laughter, and they all scattered to hide once more. I waited until I was alone, then went back inside to read my book, until I heard them calling for me again.

This cycle repeated for a good two hours, until the sun went down, the fireflies came out, and it was too dark for the little ones. When it was time for everyone to leave, my cousins hugged me and cried. I was, for that summer, their very favoritest relation.


  1. Brilliant. I am totally going to try this game as my son gets older.

    Of course they loved it!

  2. Tickle Monster was my dad in our house, and has still remained now with my own kids. Great memory!

  3. oh I love it! love that you both hoodwinked your little relatives so you could read and you seemed to love the attention. I was always one of the little cousins, hoping for some attention from the older, cooler ones.

  4. That was truly the best of both worlds. :)

  5. My mom does this with my daughter and they both have a great time!

  6. That. Is. AWESOME!
    What a fun take on the prompt! Came from TRDC.

  7. Wow! You really made that whole scene come to life for me with your description of how there was no TV to speak of and the 40th anniversary at grandma's. I can just see you tickling all the younger ones and sneaking off to read. Absolutely darling. As are you. Great post!


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