Random Asides

Art & Science

I played Pictionary with my friend Larry and his family on Thanksgiving. I enjoy playing silly games with very smart people, because it always adds an extra layer of amusement to the proceedings. Larry’s son and I were kicking some serious ass, leaving the other two teams in the dust with our artistically enhanced mental connection. At one point, I had to draw the word “full.” At first I tried to show a circle, coloring it in half-full and then all the way.

“Moon?” he guessed. I shook my head, but that gave me an idea. Next to the circle I drew a crescent moon, then a half-moon, then pointed to the circle. “Crescent moon? Half moon? Oh, new moon!” I kept pointing to the circle. “It’s a new moon,” he insisted, with precious time quickly passing. I sighed and drew an empty circle on the other side of the half-moon. “Oh, full moon,” he said. It occurred to me that getting him to say “gibbous” would probably have been slightly easier.

Midway through the game, I had to draw the word “limbo;” it was a special category wherein all three teams drew at once using the same word. I drew a little stick figure bent over backwords, and two other figures holding a stick between them. My partner wasn’t quite getting it due to my difficulties drawing two-dimensional stick men with a three-dimensional perspective. When time ran out, we revealed the word to the guessers, and over on Larry’s team, his girlfriend was clearly confused by what he had attempted to convey.

We all looked over as Larry showed his picture. There were arrows going up and down between fire and clouds, and stickmen hanging in the air. Larry looked at my drawing. “Oh,” he said, “limbo. Like the game.”

“What were you drawing, Larry?”

“I was thinking of the Catholics,” he said sadly.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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