So a couple of weeks back, I was conducting a site visit to one of the facilities I oversee and the occupants were having a party celebrating the promotion of one of their own. They were playing Guesstures. I looked on for a couple of rounds and left with plenty of laughs. It reminded me of a particular instance I was left breathless from laughter after having participated in a game of Guesstures. This week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series takes me back to New Year’s Night 2010: Chauvonne’s banjo. In what ranked as my #23 Most Memorable Moment in Tokyo, one of my good Christian friends—Chauvonne Wrenn—gave what has to be one of the worst clues in the game’s history. The word on the card was “banjo” but the gesture clue she gave was more in line with the hand movements one uses on a bongo drum. After her turn was over and it was revealed what her word was, we all broke out in laughter.
How I first came across this moment? It was the evening of January 1, 2010 in Tokyo. I was invited to a party celebrating the birthday of one of the guys from my church. Almost everybody from the younger adult crowd—the 20-somethings and the early 30-somethings—was there. I, in rare form, showed up late and I suffered the embarrassment of having to do the hula hoop, which lasted all of maybe 4 seconds. Up until Chauvonne’s moment, I had drew all the laughs for the evening. The host decided that we would all play Guesstures in a battle of the sexes fashion. Coming in, the men were riding a 2-game winning streak and we were looking to add to our domination of the ladies. The game was relatively close when Chauvonne came up for her turn. In fact, had she scored 4 points in her frame, the women would’ve taken the lead with only 2 players from each team remaining. Her first word was eyebrow, which she gestured and the women guessed it easily. Her 2nd and 3rd words—wind up and crash, respectively—were not as easy and the women couldn’t guess them. That left her with the last word—banjo—and the gesture she put out there was for a bongo drum. The ladies guess just that and she pulled the card before realizing it was not the right word. So she went back to gesturing, using the same exact gesture leading to more shouts of “bongo”. Time ran out and the male counterpart, who was looking on to ensure that no cheating was taking place, picked up the card and showed it to the crowd. That’s when we all realized that it said “banjo” but she was gesturing “bongo”.
What it meant to me then? In the immediate, it sealed the fate of the women in that game. The men went on to close out by scoring on 7 of our last 8 cards, running away with the game. The gaffe by Chauvonne gave me relief in 2 ways: (1) nobody remembers my horrible hula hooping skills and (2) her moment superseded my “atrocious” moment in Taboo a couple of months earlier. Our ribbing of Chauvonne would only last for 2 weeks until the ice skating incident at Tokyo Midtown Saturday Night, which happens to still be one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen…I’ll likely cover it in a future Flashback Friday.
What it means to me now? I still rib at Chauvonne about it from time to time. She takes it all in good fun. It was a great moment, a great laugh…great fun between a group of friends. It’s moments like those that I miss in the years that have passed since I moved on from Japan to other places Stateside and beyond.