The Real Reason People Don’t Like to “Associate” with Me

You say, “Potato.”  I say, “Harriet Tubman.”

Because potatoes are from under the ground and Harriet Tubman conducted the Underground Railroad.

This is why people prefer not to be on my team when we play party games like Catch Phrase.  Supposedly, my word associations are a bit “out there.”  I like to call it, “creative thinking.”  Other people  have less charitable ways of putting it.

This also explains why a conversation between my mother-in-law, who has been having difficulty choosing words lately, and me usually ends up sounding like an exchange between a secretive teenager and Phoebe Buffay.

MILlie was trying to tell me about a friend of hers who visited this morning, and another mutual friend of theirs.  I think they went to college together but I’m not actually sure.

“She, you know, does things,” MILlie said.

“Things?” I asked.

She moved her hands back and forth together like she was weaving.

“Knitting?  Quilting?” I guessed.

“An artist,” my mother-in-law finally said after shaking her head at my guesses.

“Oh, okay, that’s interesting.”  I prepared to move on in the conversation, but “artist” was not specific enough for my mother-in-law.  She still had not gotten her message across.

“Rap,” she said.

And that’s where our conversation kind of went off the rails.

“Your friend was a rap artist?!!!” I asked.  I tried to picture an 84-year-old former rap artist.  Then I tried to figure out how old she would have been when the term “rap artist” was even coined.  Then I tried to picture a 60-year-old rapping on stage with Snoop Dogg.

MILlie shook her head, but didn’t seem offended by this suggestion.  It’s possible, of course, that my mother-in-law is not exactly familiar with the term, “rap artist.”

I tried to think of another job that would combine art with “rap” and moving your hands in and out.

“A professional gift wrapper!” I yelled, triumphantly.

“No.”  Now MILlie was beginning to look frustrated – probably with both of us at this point.

“Sushi chef?”


After several more increasingly off-the-mark guesses, it turned out this talented friend played the accordion.

I never did figure out how that related to the word, “rap.”

But if you’re on my team some day, and we are playing Catch Phrase, and there are seconds to go before the beep, all you have to do is say, “accordion” and I will guess “rap artist”, and then you can leap up and say, “YES!!!!!”

And everyone will be too busy wondering how those two things could possibly go together while we nonchalantly hide the real catch-phrase and celebrate our victory with as much enthusiasm as Harriet Tubman probably felt any time she got the chance to eat a hot, buttery baked potato.

and then there's always the rapping potato from:

…and then there’s always the rapping potato


Posted on September 20, 2013, in Aging, Family, Humor, Memory Loss. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Kaufman's Kavalkade

    Dude, I think we think alike.;)

  2. I’d simply love to see you and my wife get together. The entertainment potential is simply staggering. Luckily after knowing her for thirteen years I speak your language fluently.

  3. Even without the words, I’m wondering whether to be concerned about the hand gestures that looked like knitting were accordion playing. Do they look alike? GAH!

  4. I thought Snoop Dogg always used an accordion for instrumentation… 😉

  5. I think I actually prefer the rap… I did go to an accordion festival every summer for four years when I was a kid so I think I’ve had my fill of that music.

  6. I once played that drawing game with a perfect stranger – and we just were on the same wavelength. He’d draw a line, and I’d yell Kangaroo! – and it was!

  7. I hate to hear how your mother-in-law interprets some words.

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