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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 02.08.08
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Go, girl! (No, seriously, it's your turn.)

STANSTEAD, QC | Sometimes being a dad means being a girl.

For instance, when you sit on the floor with your six-year-old to play a board game called Dream Star, as I did last Sunday, there's no way to avoid, at least temporarily, taking the girly role.

Because Dream Star is a girly, girly game.

I'm not being sexist. The cards you need to collect on your way to the finish circle refer to players exclusively as "she" and "her." Plus, they ask a lot of questions about gossip and clothes. Okay, now I am being sexist.

We recently inherited this unapologetically pink game from a friend. I suspect it wasn't because her own daughter had outgrown it but because it has an electronic star that "magically" plays loud music every time a player takes a turn. I imagine you can handle only so much of this before the batteries "magically" disappear.

"Where's the crown?" wondered Abby as she removed the game from its packaging.

"There is no crown," I said.

"No crown?" she replied incredulously. What kind of girly game was this?

The kind of girly game, it turned out, that asked the following questions:

"A pair of shoes you will buy will get a major thumbs down. Move back 2 spaces. Move back only 1 if you tell us about the worst pair of shoes you ever owned!"

That's easy. It was a pair of grey shoes that I bought in the mid-eighties. I thought I looked pretty slick until my future brothers-in-law caught sight of them and turned them into Hilarious Family Story (Humiliation Category) No. 73.

Abby's turn: "A special talent will soon reveal itself. Move ahead 2 spaces and tell us what talent you would LOVE to have."

She thought about this for a minute. "Drinking my milk."

That wouldn't be a talent, I explained. That would be a miracle.

My turn again:

"A future boyfriend will spend too much time reading comic books instead of writing love letters. Move back 1 space."

Okay, first of all, I'm married. Second, I have no problem with the comic books thing.

Abby's turn:

"You'll land a nice part in a play if you try for it. Move ahead 1 space. For an extra space, quickly act out a part, or sing a piece, from a play that you know."

Abby sang the "Looney Tunes" theme. It was a proud moment for me. Plus, I don't think she'd mind the comic books thing either.

Me again: "You'll be as stylish when you're 60 as you are today. Move ahead 2 spaces."

Are you sure that shouldn't be "Move back 2 spaces"?

Abby's turn: "She has the hotline to all the gossip! Vote for the player who knows all about everyone!"

I don't know about gossip but I certainly know which game uses too many exclamation marks!

Now me: "Next weekend looks like it will be an extra fun one! Who might you have a great time with?"

Chuck Norris!

Abby's turn:

"You will spend many years living in a foreign country and loving it! Move ahead 1 space and tell us where that might be."

Abby puzzled over the question so I tried to clarify

"Where do you want to be?" I offered helpfully.

She pointed to the finish circle. "There," she said. Fair enough. Certainly not a bad commute.

Me: "A special email is zapped to you this week. Who do you hope it's from?"

Chuck Norris!

Abby's turn:

"You'll meet a great guy, but will judge him as "too nerdy" before you give him a chance. Move back 1 space."

Be nice to the nerds, I scolded.

My turn: "You'll REALLY stand out at the prom! Move ahead 1 space. Move another space if you describe what kind of outfit you'd love to wear."

I see gold sequins, possibly strapless, something to go with my grey shoes.

Last question for Abby: "It's April 1 and someone's playing plenty of tricks. Who would that player be?"

I'm thinking the person who unloaded this game on us.

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