Jesse Tise

I couldn’t be happier to attend a gathering of my game night friends. We’ve met at bars every week to play board games for the past few years, but recently schedules, children, and travels have made that impossible. Luckily, The Archivist has taken the initiative to invite us over for a weekend grilling... as in cooking food on a grill. He didn’t just invite us over to point out our faults and send us home. Although, now that I think about it, that would be a boss move, if you want to fuck with your friends—and lose them as friends, forever.

We are also joined by my kid and a toddler rocking some bomb-ass, frilly, rainbow suspenders perfectly coordinated with horizontal striped leggings and sandals in nostalgic greens and yellows.

The Archivist and his partner, Lady of L’Grill, have a splendid rock-and-mulch garden with a cobblestone walkway—picturesque to say the least, and surrounded by an equally tasteful fence. The interior’s been freshly remodeled to the nines with a touchscreen refrigerator, so when the robots revolt they can deny us our leftover mac ’n’ cheese and Sriracha. The home embodies urban-residential chic.

Dishes include chicken, pasta salad, watermelon salad, and a remarkable naan pizza with asparagus and pesto. I donate pork chops to the pile of offerings, and beer and white wine are generously poured.

Though tabletop abstract strategy games are our usual cup of tea, we’ve chosen to play Catch Phrase in order to include the plebes. As is often the case, we don’t have the correct number of players to play the game correctly. Nor is anyone paying enough attention to the game at any given time for any sort of scoring system to be relevant. Players are literally walking in and out of the house, pouring drinks, and checking on the grill. This is plainly a casual game played solely for social amusement.

For those who don’t recall Catch Phrase: A small plastic computer is passed around with a word or phrase. Players take turns trying to get teammates or the group to guess what it is without saying any part of it. Now that we’re all caught up, you may understand why it’s extra challenging to play such a game with a teenager who has difficulty with figurative language. And let’s be honest, the rest of us aren’t doing too amazing ourselves. Pro tip: “That thing, y’know, that you do with stuff” is a bad Catch Phrase clue.

Just as we think we’ve embarrassed ourselves enough, we each pass on the next word.

“I got this,” I think to myself. The word is “Alamo,” and I, like all the rest, can’t remember a damn thing about it.

If the Alamo can be forgotten, then what of 9/11? What about Dre?! On a whole other note, fuck Texas. Seriously though, there’s a human rights crisis on the border, but this little backyard shindig still deserves 10 points out of 10.