When I was a kid, my brothers and sisters and I would often spend our evenings playing a game that we called Monster. I would be given a few minutes to hide somewhere outside and around our home, and then my brothers and sisters would begin wandering about, hoping to avoid being snatched up by me.
Being the eldest, I was faster and stronger than the rest, so if I caught one of them, dragging them away and hiding them in the barn or the garage or behind the oak tree at the end of the driveway was not difficult. It was then the job of the surviving siblings to rescue their comrade before they were captured as well.
I think it was actually a little terrifying for them at times. We would play well after dark, and I was extremely good at surprising and scaring the hell out of them.
I think the game may have been an offshoot of a similar game we played with our father before he and my mother divorced, except his version of Monster had us wandering around the darkened house, clutching one another in mortal terror, waiting for him to pop out of a closet or from behind the sofa.
When he left, I guess I took his place and became the monster.
We played this game for years, ignoring rain and snow and Gypsy moths in order to do so. And I’ve often wondered what caused the game finally end, and more importantly, when our last game of Monster was played.
Did I know that this would be the final time I played a game that filled up so much of my childhood?
Probably not. As with most things, the game probably came to an end without any of us ever even noticing.
Well, it turns out that Monster hasn’t ended after all. While playing a much-simplified version of hide-and-go seek with my daughter at the park this week, I popped out from behind a slide and shouted, “Boogha! Boogha!”
She thought this was hilarious and immediately dubbed me The Boohga Boogha Monster.
And so a new version of Monster was born.