Essay Non-fiction Tribe

The Games

Emma Figg celebrates her remarkable family (that most eccentric, glorious, beloved of tribes) and the tradition that made her childhood.

by Emma Figg

Now I’m not a stranger to other people’s families. Over the years I’ve found myself immersed in the proceedings of various familial hearths. My life at the moment continues along this vein, since I am currently living with my best friend’s family. So I am fully aware that with ‘family’ comes unbridled levels of Mental. (Not a comment on the current family I live with – honest!) However, I am well trained in the art of mental as I truly believe that my family takes lunacy to the next level.

I was raised in a pack of nine by four women, each in turn representing varying shades of Julie Andrews. These women were tolerated by four men, who were reinforced by generous measures of whiskey. It was the makings of childhood bliss.

With every family party came The Games. (Most of which I believe are drinking games, adapted to be child-friendly by including a choice from the ‘prize tray’ – rather than a vodka shot with your victory.) Growing up in a pack of nine is a competitive state of affairs and The Games were a perfect excuse to draw blood under the pretence of ruddy good old gamesmanship. All’s fair in love and a game of ‘spoons’, apparently.

“I was raised in a pack of nine by four women, each in turn representing varying shades of Julie Andrews.”

The Games have continued to be the theme of every family party. We are all now well into our twenties and beyond, but last weekend I still found myself legging it across a garden with 10–15 other twenty-somethings (my clan, plus a few unwitting new recruits) desperately trying to win the Postbox Game (don’t ask) and it occurred to me that perhaps our family really have got it right.

There’s got to be a reason why every game I introduce to my oblivious friends, plucked from the extensive back catalogue of The Games, goes down a storm. Why the boyfriends of the vast number of girls in the pack who play The Games with the same level of bloodthirsty, are always the ones that stick around the longest.

If lunacy is what it takes to rotate oranges around a circle to slightly satanic chanting at increasing speeds (a terrifying game for the uninitiated to witness, rather innocently named ‘La-Dee-Dah’), or to don a blindfold and sit on peoples’ laps as they make pig noises, or even partake in the good old ‘turn the lights off and feel around in the dark game’ – then pass me the straight-jacket ‘coz if I’m going down at least I’ll be doing it laughing and with my own special gang of maniacs.

Dedicated to my wonderful Family Von Crapp.


Emma Figg | botchandblunder.wordpress.com

Emma is a twenty-something female. Which makes her feel stuff that she needs to write down. Lena Dunham is her spirit animal. As is lasagne.

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