Odd Family Tradition: The Game

Have you ever come upon a bizarre knickknack in a resale shop and wondered why anyone would have ever bought the thing the first time? You don’t know who’s weirder – the person that purchased it or the freakazoid that made the damn thing in the first place. Puzzling.

It was one of those moments that inspired a little game that has been played in my family for several years now, and has recently intensified.

Years ago, during a totally random thrift shopping excursion, I happened upon a weird little windmill. I stared at it for a while wondering about the whos and whys of its origin, but then something happened. A little light bulb lit above my head and I realized its history wasn’t nearly as interesting as its future. This windmill was destined to be my mom’s…

…and she’d hate it.

You see, my mom is one of those people who knows every single thing in her home. She knows what she has, why she has it and where it’s supposed to be. She’s pretty much my polar opposite. I can’t find anything unless it’s where it’s not supposed to be and trips to my attic often reveal treasures I’d completely forgotten were there. For me, these surprises are like unexpected gifts, for my mom, they’re a nightmare.

Armed with the knowledge that it would drive her crazy to find some randomly placed, nonsensical item in her house, I picked up that windmill and took it to the counter. The next day, I left it perched on a bookshelf in her living room. I didn’t know how long it would take her to find it, but I knew the fireworks would be spectacular. The very next day, she happened upon it while she was dusting. (Did I mention she’s a super cleaner, too?)

She called and immediately started questioning me about the windmill. So, I did what any good daughter would do – denied, denied, denied. When I finally convinced her I hadn’t a clue, I called my siblings and told them what I’d done. They loved my evil and “The Game” was born.

Over the years my siblings and I have plotted, planned and planted loads of bizarre, hilarious and often hideous chachkies and products around her home. It’s to a point that whenever we’re over for a visit, my parents do an inspection of their house to see what paraphernalia we’ve left behind. They’ve been blessed with an abundance of unbelievably peculiar objects from outhouse figurines to a creepy life-sized, tattooed skull – with a few chickens, squirrels and hillbillies thrown in for good measure. The only common denominator amongst these special presents is that nobody would EVER want them in their homes.

Every time we leave a gift, we tell the others and have a good laugh together. And, it’s never long before we get to laugh again when mom calls to yell at us for the latest addition to her collection.

Recently, my parents have decided to fight fire with fire. Over Father’s Day weekend they left a giant, kooky monkey mug with a real rotten banana inside on the seat of my brother’s luxury car. Then yesterday I went into my purse for something and found that my dad had left me an odd little present as well…

pup lounge

At first glance, you think, “Awww…it’s a puppy.” Then, upon closer inspection, you start to ask yourself, “Why is it in that position? Is it about to give its nethers a thorough tongue bathing? And, why the hell is its face so jacked up? The dead, sunken in, empty eyes. The hideously painted demon mouth. Why is this in my purse?”


Touche’, dad. Touche’.

I’ve named this monstrosity Uggems, and he’s a symbol of my parents waging war. The Game has taken a turn and things are going to get even weirder…if that’s even possible.

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