Copyright © 2006 Robert G. Ferrell

Modern Games for Girls

An essential component of the Ferrell household standard bathroom equipment manifest is a basket near the toilet containing a variety of reading material. Most of this fine literature takes the form of cartoon compilations (for me) or flower arranging/embroidery books (for my wife), but every now and then something odd will creep into the stable. Today I was riffling through the downstair bathroom inventory when I came across a little pink tome titled "Games for Girl Scouts."

That's a real head-scratcher: we don't have any children personally, and nor are there any tots in what might be termed our neighborhood (we live on a ranch, or more properly, a "ranchette") who could carelessly have left such a volume in or near the aforementioned facilities. Having read all the cartoon books cover to cover several dozen times and not feeling particularly receptive to discovering cunning new ways to arrange Stargazer lilies in a cut glass vase, I opted to thumb through the anomalous codex.

As I read through the respectable collection of activities suggested for keeping a dozen squealing young girls entertained while scout leader tries desperately to think of some excuse to have next week's meeting at someone else's house, I couldn't help but think that the games themselves were hopelessly outdated–not surprising since the copyright dates for the book were 1949 and 1969. In the interest of contributing to more topical living rooms and backyards everywhere, I have decided to modernize a few of the most hopelessly antiquated examples.

Math Mirth

Two goals are marked out, several yards apart, representing the "boardroom" and the "federal courthouse." One player is the "prosecutor," another the "CEO," and the rest the "accountants." The CEO arranges her accountants in a compact group, then leads them close to the courthouse and asks, "If you please, Mr. Prosecutor, have you any indictments?" If she replies "no," the accountants are safe and free to hide capital gains or otherwise doctor the books. After a few moments the CEO once again stands between the prosecutor and accountants and asks her question. If the answer is "yes," they must run to the boardroom. The prosecutor chases them. If any of the accountants are caught, they are taken to the courthouse and "incarcerated." When all the accountants are doing time or if the CEO herself is caught, the game is over.

Cheerleader Moms

Two girls are chosen as "moms," the rest are "cheerleaders." Each mom secretly picks a cheerleader as her own and using ping-pong balls tries to "take out" all the other cheerleaders by hitting each of them with a ball without getting caught. If a mom is seen throwing the ball by the other mom, she is "out" and the game starts again. Play continues until one mom takes out all the cheerleaders but her own or there aren't enough girls left to carry on. No one actually wins.

Migration

One girl is chosen for each of the following "civilization" roles: "SUV," "Mega-Mart, "Urban Sprawl," and "Slash and Burn." The rest are "endangered species" and represent the "environment." Two "habitats" are marked out, approximately ten yards apart. Half the endangered species start at one habitat, the remaining half at the one opposite, while the civilization girls stand midway between the habitats. The endangered species must run to the opposite habitat without being tagged by civilization. Tagged species are "extinct" and leave the game. The surviving species must then return to their original habitat, once again without being tagged. If any of the endangered species makes the round trip untagged, the environment wins. Otherwise civilization wins and everyone dies from some super pandemic caused by a lack of genetic diversity.

War on Terror

All the girls get together in a huddle and accuse each other of plotting to undermine democracy until one of them is labeled a "terrorist" and held in solitary confinement without benefit of counsel; i.e., she is out of the game. The process repeats until only one girl is left. She declares "mission accomplished" and lobbies Congress to have the 22nd Amendment repealed so she can stay in office for life. At that point the game is over.

I should probably stop before I get bitter.