For reasons that defy explanation, Argotnaut's sister (the good Doctor Lizardo) has asked that I explain "Wingding*," an activity my siblings and I enjoyed when I was a kid. Well, who am I to resist the charms of a beautiful woman? I'm only human.
First, some background. I am one of five kids. We average about two years apart in age. I'm the second youngest. If you haven't met us Heckmans, it will be difficult for you to image the tumult of five Heckman kids, all between the ages of five and 15, gathered in one place. The noise level was akin to a thousand gas-powered leaf blowers blasting up the asses of a thousand ornery mastodons. (The carnage level was also roughly equivalent).
Anyway, the first floor of the house in which we grew up had a layout similar to a square...there was a sort of central core that contained the stairs to the second floor, as well as closets and the door to the basement. This created a natural racing circuit roughly 20 feet on a side; if one was so inclined, one could run around the central core over and over.
Thus, "Wingding" was born. All five kids would run this circuit one after the other. Understand, this was no game in the usual sense. There was no "winner" as such, as Wingding was not a race, but rather a cruel test of one's survival instincts and reflexes. The object, such as it was, was to sabotage the path of the person running behind you. Just about any obstacle was in play. For example, you might toss a throw rug or towel behind you so that your pursuer would wipe out on the hardwood floors like a drunken Mario Andretti taking a header at Le Mans. Dropping objects in the path -- magazines, toys, the occasional handful of jacks -- was par for the course. The coup de grace, however, was to fling open the door to a closet or to the basement so that the person flying blind around the corner would slam into it face first: FWAM! It was even better if the pursuers plowed into the face-planter as he or she stood stunned and immobilized, staring dazedly at the door as it vibrated from the impact.
Thus, we created own version of the chariot race in Ben Hur, with a nearly equivalent amount of sweat, bloodshed, flying bodies and scar tissue.
It goes without saying that Wingding was played only when our parents were away. It ended only when the final runner stopped running, either for reasons of exhaustion or through attrition. Finally we would hurriedly pick up the discarded tripping hazards, glue or otherwise camouflage broken furniture or decorative items, affix any necessary bandages and tell our parents when they got home that any broken crockery or knick-knacks "just, I don't know, fell off the shelf or something, I guess." I doubt if they were fooled.
Some of my siblings read this blog and I welcome their recollections of any particularly violent and/or hilarious episodes.
* Webster's Dictionary indicates that "wingding" is one word, although in this case, I think "Wing-Ding!!" with two or three exclamation points would be the appropriate spelling.