About 35 years ago during the Irish ‘troubles’ I flew from London to Belfast and with 40 or so others, took a chartered bus down the east coast to a convention centre overlooking the Irish Sea. On the return journey a couple of days later, our bus was stopped by the police. There was some sort of security operation going on. It was dark and the bus stayed on the side of the road for several hours with other vehicles till we were given the OK to proceed.
Needing something to help us pass what could have been a long time in a bus with no lights allowed on, various people told travel tales, tall stories and charades. I proposed a game that went on for at least an hour to gales of laughter.
Here are the rules. Everyone in the group has to try and think of something they have never done, which they guess that everyone else in the room has done. Absolutely anything qualifies, with the exception of naming places, countries, cities etc where you have never been. For each nomination you make that no one else in the room has ever experienced, you get a point, with the winner the person who has the most points.
The skill is thinking about experiences that you calculate to be widely experienced that makes it likely that your innocence is unique. Not having skydived is unlikely to win you a point, but never having played scrabble may well do so. Common foods and drinks are fertile grounds, as are common sports for the non-sporting, not having read popular books, authors, or seen popular movies or TV series.
The game can be risky because some will nominate edgy, illegal or reprehensible activities which they guess most will not own up to. The Irish bus was full of public health researchers. Oxford University’s Sir Richard Doll was on the bus with his secretary. She got a highly acclaimed point right out of the blocks by saying she was confident she was the only person on the bus who’d never been to university. I knew that this also applied to at least one other person in the group who chose to keep silent.
Admitting you’ve never had group sex, smoked dope or gone back to a supermarket and paid for an item that was missed by the check-out staff are all probably likely to produce highly unreliable results, depending on who’s playing the game.
Here are some points I usually score on when I play the game.
Snow skiing. Never been in an ambulance or broken a bone. Never stung by a bluebottle. Not read any science fiction book. Never worn sandals as an adult. Never voted conservative. Never ordered or accepted a glass of Baileys, Chartreuse, Tia Maria or Benedictine (after having had a previous sip). Never swam in the sea in mid-winter. Never read anything by Tolkein or JK Rowling. Never seen a single episode of Friends, Dallas, Dynasty, Sex in the City, South Park, the Simpsons and a bewilderlingy long list of other US produced TV fare since the 1970s.