Hazlett

It’s the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and parents everywhere are scrambling to find this holiday season’s hottest toys for their kids.

But after reading about popular games for Christmas 2017, I decided I don’t need to do any shopping for the children on my gift list. They can just hang out with me for a day.

For instance, I have a soggy doggy. Do you?

One of the predicted top-sellers is a board game by Spin Master called “Soggy Doggy.” Kids take their chances moving pieces around a board and risk getting splashed by a shaking, adorable sponge doggy. The objective is to be the first around the board, but if the doggy shakes water on a player, it’s back to the beginning.

The winner stays dry, but I think it looks more fun to get splashed by the cute toy doggy. It certainly looks more fun than my version of soggy doggy, which involves a real-life soaked spaniel with genuine muddy paw action.

When she shakes, my eyeglasses get sprayed with water droplets, making it impossible to see. While I fumble around, she runs to hide under the kitchen table and gets mud on the carpet. Why isn’t this fun?

Then there’s Toilet Trouble from Hasbro, another game appearing on “must have” lists for 2017. Kids spin a spinner in the shape of a toilet paper roll which tells them how many times to flush a miniature toy toilet. Players put their faces near the toy toilet bowl, close their eyes and flush. The goal is to not get sprayed.

“Face the flush,” dares a commercial announcer.

Again, I am living this game in real life. When our toilet went on the blink this summer, flushing was a risky game of roulette. One flush could be a successful downward swirl while the next resulted in a plunger, galoshes and disinfectant. Not exactly fun for the whole family.

Then there’s Hot Wheels Roto Revolution Track Set. It’s a motorized, rotating race track where kids have to accurately time launching their cars to beat other cars.

“Only perfect timing will send cars looping into the gauntlet,” boasts advertising.

Sounds like driving through the intersection of Hershey Road and Route 9 on the way to work.

Is it my imagination or are all the games this gift-giving season just a mockery of my life? But wait, there’s more.

Speak Out is another hot Hasbro offering. The box describes the game as “The ridiculous mouthpiece challenge game for the family!”

Speakers try to read phrases from cards while wearing one of 10 different mouthpieces which prevent them from closing their mouths. As other players try to guess what they’re saying, the misinterpretations can be funny.

I experience this phenomenon at home many an evening, no mouthpiece required. Here’s how it’s played at the Hazlett house:

My husband and I are in a room. He says something. I think he’s finished talking and walk into another room. But he continues speaking, and I can’t make out what he said. So I shout from the other room, “What did you say?” We can play this fun game for hours.

My favorite version takes place in the mornings when my husband is shaving. Sometimes I wait until his face is covered with a thick layer of shaving cream and then I begin a conversation, knowing he can’t reply without getting foam in his mouth.

“Honey, I accidentally drove the car with the parking brake on and it started to smell like burning rubber. I’m really sorry.”

His comment sounds something like, “Mmpff!” but I can guess what he intended to say.

Then I leave the house and drive to work, ready for my real-life edition of Hot Wheels Roto Revolution.

Who says games are just for kids?

Contact Susan Hazlett at susanrhazlett@yahoo.com or write to her in care of The Pantagraph, 301 W. Washington St., Bloomington, IL 61702-2907.

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