This is Why I Don’t Like Adult Games

by Marinka on December 7, 2008

Generally speaking, when other adults want to play a game, I immediately want to be doing whatever is the opposite of playing a game. And yet, when the parents in my daughter’s class wanted to play a “Guess Who?” trivia game at the annual potluck dinner, I was all over it.

The rules were simple. In advance of the dinner, we had to submit a not-widely-known factoid about ourselves to the hostess and she would present the facts, “Who had a walk on part on One Life to Live?”and the rest of us would try to guess which of the other parents it was. A friendly get-to-know-interesting things about you game.

I came up with Husbandrinka’s factoid right away (“Who’s married to the most wonderful woman in the world?”) but he cruelly rejected it, no doubt not wanting to draw jealous attention to his good fortune. My second choice for him was a winner–who was recruited by the KGB and the CIA the same year? (Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? And yet, most of you opted to do a Q&A with John. Don’t worry, you will soon know exactly how many sweaters he owns.)

I couldn’t come up with a fun factoid for myself, though, not because there weren’t any, but because I’d already bragged about everything interesting about me to all the other moms within ten minutes of meeting them.

“Is it possible that I have nothing exciting to share?” I asked Husbandrinka.
“Probably,” he said.
“There must be something,” I was hopeful.
“Well, why don’t you milk something about Russia? ” He asked, reminding me of my Motherland from which I was so cruelly ripped. And speaking of cruelly ripped, I thought of something that was cruelly ripped from me–my tonsils.
When I was six years old, I had my tonsils removed. Behind the Iron Curtain, in the former Soviet Union.
“I got it!” I said as I ran to send an email to our hostess.

“I had my tonsils removed without anesthesia! xox P.S. Will there be enough wine at the potluck? I don’t want The Last Supper Redux.” After I pressed “send”, I had a crisis. “Hey,” I asked Husbandrinka, “was the Last Supper the one where everyone was supposed to bring some wine, but people brought water instead thinking that when it was added to other wine no one would be able to tell that they brought water, except everyone brought water?”
“No,” he said, which was really bad news for me, although not for the Last Supper guests. Except if you count Jesus, I guess.

I can’t remember how many tries it took for someone to figure out at the potluck that I was the tonsillectomy victim but I will never forget the emotional embrace that I got from everyone.
How you must have suffered.
Those Soviets were savages.
Tell us everything that you remember, for your factoid is more interesting than anyone else’s.
I did remember things. I remembered being in an old hospital, sharing a large room with six adult women, most of whom were there for gynecological procedures. I remember sitting across from a doctor who told me to open my mouth and reached with a scalpel down my throat. I remember watching, my head tilted back, her white doctor’s coat collar get splattered with my blood to form a shape that I would later recognize in an O’Keefe poppy.
I shared all these memories with my captive audience. Suddenly the fact that Husbandrinka had been recruited by competing superpowers seemed very “whatever”. I was the hero. While I was basking in my own bravery, something nagged at me, but I couldn’t quite place it, perhaps because I was drunk on the toxic mixture of my own heroism and wine.

As we left the dinner party, I stepped into the elevator and as I waved a fond farewell to my adoring public, I hit my elbow against the door.
“MOTHERFUCKER!” I screamed, grabbing my elbow and doubling over. “Good Lord, who the fuck puts a cocksucking elevator door so close to the elevator?!”
Husbandrinka may have rolled his eyes.
“I am in agony,” I said. “I think my elbow is broken. We should go to the ER.”
“Your elbow isn’t broken.”
“I am dying.”
“You bumped your elbow,” he said. “Amazing how you could endure a scalpel down your throat, and yet grazing your elbow is an international incident.”

And then it came to me.

Although I remembered getting my tonsils out vividly, the one thing that seemed to be missing from my memory was the pain. Huh. As a matter of fact, I seem to recall my throat being numb. Surely it was numb from fear.

“You know,” I told Husbandrinka. “I think I may have had some local anesthesia during my tonsillectomy.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Well, who can be sure now, but I don’t remember any pain. And I was awake for the procedure, so it’s not like I had general anesthesia.”
“So you just lied to everyone at the potluck.”
“Well, I did get my tonsils out. Do you think people focused on the anesthesia part?”
This is why I don’t like playing games. And why I think that my daughter may need to change schools.

One year ago ...

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Bananas December 8, 2008 at 12:35 am

I had my tonsils out in NORTH DAKOTA (which is waaay more rustic than Russia, I’m sure) and I am 100% positive that there either was or was not anesthesia.


Kylie w Warszawie December 8, 2008 at 3:50 am

I’ve never had anesthesia at all.

So there!

(Of course, I’ve also never had my tonsils out. But I have delivered four children.)


Braja December 8, 2008 at 4:21 am

Marinka, my neighbors think I’m insane because I’m home alone and they know it, so I can feel them thinking, “Why the hell is she laughing so much? Is she NUTS???” So like, yeah, thanks for that.

That’s exactly the kind of lie I love: the unintentional one which, when you realize it’s not the truth, you have no intention of correcting cos, hey, it’s better all round if no one knows now, right…


Vodka Mom December 8, 2008 at 4:49 am

now THAT was damn funny. I am SO coming to NYC so we can hang out.


Deb December 8, 2008 at 5:03 am

I bet there was no anesthesia, and that you are just much tougher than the rest of the wimps who can’t handle the pain. Really. Or, you got to have a few shots of vodka beforehand to numb you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind comments about my pencil death. I feel like you “get” me, and it means a lot.


mo.stoneskin December 8, 2008 at 5:18 am

Very funny. I love those kind of mistakes, when you have mislead tons of people through some sort of misguided congitive slip.

Bit like Obama and IPodGate I suppose.

Although, given that you lied to them all, maybe next time you could just make up a real whopper of a lie, and milk the glory just the same. Maybe claim to be recruited by the KGB, the CIA, the FBI and MI5 in the same year?


Comedy Goddess December 8, 2008 at 5:24 am

Stick with your story. We born in this country are too smug when it comes to tonsilectomies. I got to eat ice cream and sorbet FOREVER. And a new Barbie. The Doctor Barbie one. And a trip to Bloomingdales when I had recovered. I get nothing now that I am a grown up.


Smart A$$ Mom December 8, 2008 at 5:27 am

Silly details. Really? Does it matter? You made the story interesting.


OHmommy December 8, 2008 at 5:54 am

Until I married my husband, whom is a dentist, I never realized that one receives Novocain during dental procedures.

Even outside of communist Poland, my parents took me to the hood of Chicago to a “Polish” dentist. It’s a good thing that I always took care of my teeth. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You kinda of had to, to escape the “Polish” dentist.


McMommy December 8, 2008 at 6:03 am

I had my tonsils out too!
Only I had anesthesia.
Cause I’m a total wimp like that.

Your story will be told for generations to come…You are the tonsil-less people’s hero.


Tooj December 8, 2008 at 6:20 am

Lots of times interesting beats truth, because honestly…I can’t remember the last time they were the same! (see how easy that was to say “honestly” and lie? LOL)


Melissa December 8, 2008 at 6:31 am

Oh like you aren’t the only one who lied. Yours was just the best. Everyone else was in awe of your embellishment prowess. As am I.

But you know what would make you feel better about this? Cookies. Cookies always help. I know where you can get some, too…


Ann's Rants December 8, 2008 at 6:58 am

Let those other Mommies know what a bad mofo you are..


WA December 8, 2008 at 7:39 am

O’Keeffe poppy–genius.


Cindy December 8, 2008 at 7:43 am

I still have my tonsils.
I’ve had other things removed though.
It’s very easy to lie..oh, maybe I should say pump up the truth ๐Ÿ™‚


Rachel December 8, 2008 at 7:50 am

I’ll never tell. Just think of how your tale will passed down… Some parent somewhere will eventually say to a tonsil-less child: “Stop your whining! In Russia, they don’t even give children anesthesia!” Think of all the children you’re helping to grow up brave and stoic. And scarred emotionally. ๐Ÿ™‚


*Akilah Sakai* December 8, 2008 at 7:51 am

Too funny! Haaaaa!

You’re a total badass…till that elevator door mishap. I think you only did that hoping your husband would kiss your elbow while ‘alone’ in the elevator…


Wendy December 8, 2008 at 7:56 am

I had my tonsils out when I was 6…with an old thing called *ether* and I can still remember that sickening smell.

No worries about your factoid–I focused on the Georgia O’Keefe moment of your story!

Just be thankful you all weren’t playing Twister…


Kristine December 8, 2008 at 8:06 am

I had my tonsils out at the same time as my sister…one right after the other. And everyone was all “ooooh you get to eat ice cream” except the doctor who was all “NO ICE CREAM!!!”


Janie December 8, 2008 at 8:24 am


At least you kept them entertained while you were lying! Haha!!!


Paula December 8, 2008 at 8:25 am

The elevator door incident was hilarious. Takes a true NYer to know how to swear, goddamit.


Miss Britt December 8, 2008 at 9:02 am

I would like to send my kids to your kids’ school. You have AWESOME potlucks!

And I can’t decide if I am more amused by the Last Supper/Wedding at Cana mix up or the “oh, I might not have been the victim of medical malpractice” ordeal. LOL


Renรƒยฉe aka Mekhismom December 8, 2008 at 9:40 am

It is official, something is wrong with you. Can I have some of whatever it is that you are drinking? LOL


Heinous December 8, 2008 at 9:50 am

I sure hope your elbow is feeling better. It sounds awfully traumatic.

Do they give you the tonsils back as a souvenir in Russia?


the mama bird diaries December 8, 2008 at 11:37 am

God, I hate games. But that one actually sounds a bit fun.

And I have my fact. Out of 20,000 applicants, I made the top ten for MTV’s Real World San Francisco and then I got dumped when they picked the final six. I could have kissed Puck. Yes, still hanging on to that dream.

Hope that elbow recovers.


Heather, Queen of Shake Shake December 8, 2008 at 12:31 pm

*tap, tap, tap* STILL waiting for you to answer me about the blog conference in Nashville.

We could be roomies, you know. And I will not ask you to play any adult games. Only child games, like Duck, Duck, Goose where the winner gets a shot of Grey Goose vodka.

You think I’m kidding? Ask the attendees at the last conference who had wine in their hotel room. There’s MY factoid.


Swistle December 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I had my wisdom teeth removed without anesthesia. …Oh, wait, or was it WITH?


Anna Lefler December 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm

I am blowing eggnog out my nose right now and making plans to move to New York. LA is just not funny enough for me anymore.

You’re cool if we crash at your place for a few week, yes? The puppies are 75% housebroken.


~ Anna


Aunt Becky December 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm

I had mine out, too. And you know what? Not only did I (probably) not have anesthesia, but I also did the surgery myself. SO THERE.


Sophie, Inzaburbs December 8, 2008 at 1:09 pm

If anybody tries digging, just tell them you forgot the pain, or shut it out, a bit like childbirth.

Hold forth on how that is Nature’s gift to us, so that next time you are pregnant (or need another body part ripped out) you can face it again.

It sounds logical to me. And allows you to keep that Iron Curtain Mystique going for as long as you need. Your next story – how Russian surgeons reattached your severed leg – with superglue.


Maddnessofme December 8, 2008 at 1:33 pm

I played that game at last year’s Christmas work party.

I submitted that I wanted to be a Nun when I was 14.

I didn’t expect the Tsunami of oh my god are you kidding me’s, not you… no way!, seriously?… and more.

Kinda made me think ๐Ÿ˜‰


Domestic Goddess (In Training) December 8, 2008 at 2:15 pm

I am pretty sure that that was the funniest thing I have ever read in my entire life.

You little trooper you!


heartatpreschool December 8, 2008 at 2:25 pm


I think you deserve at least some vicadin for that elbow too.


Charmaine December 8, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Maybe you weren’t lying?

Maybe the pain was so great that you blocked it out?

You’re not a lier. You’re just neurotic.


Such a great post. Can I practise my Russian with you? Phonetically of course. I mean, have you seen Russian characters? Incomprehensible.


Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy December 8, 2008 at 7:32 pm

I have totally done that before, but I can’t remember exactly what happened, I just know I inadvertently lied about something and realized it after the fact.

So, you know, don’t feel bad.

And, BTW, you are SO FUNNY.


MommyTime December 8, 2008 at 7:51 pm

You did not lie. You told the truth as you remember it. I bet those pot-luckers never had a more enjoyable evening!


silvergirl December 8, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Oh, to have had a parent like you at the work functions when I was a teacher…


Heather December 8, 2008 at 8:47 pm

You realize that the next time you see the other parents they will be describing you as the woman with no fear!


Anna See December 8, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Just a little hyperbole.

Your secret is safe w/ me!


anymommy December 8, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Just never admit to anything. Husbandrinka can teach you how it’s done.


Z December 9, 2008 at 11:41 am

Never had my tonsils out, but that in itself (the NOT having a tonsil removal) is quite a story. But not the one for today. No, for today I want to share with you the fact that I did have surgery with no (ok, faulty) anesthesia – and yes, when the cut my foot open and then broke the bones, I could feel it, thankyouverymuch. And that anesthesiologist wonders why he got left off my christmas list… HA!


Laura December 9, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Admitting it is the first step to recovery ๐Ÿ™‚ Great story and maybe your little one will enjoy her new school.


Amanda December 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Yikes!!! Who cares whether you had anesthesia…you were awake and you watched the blood spatter out of you! That’s worse, in my opinion! I say just stick to your story ๐Ÿ™‚


katy (aka funny girl) December 11, 2008 at 1:49 pm

I used to work with a girl who had been an ENT in Russia. She showed me how they do it over there…something about wrapping up the patient in a sheet so they can’t grab the sharp instrument. No thanks.

Um, also, cocksucking elevator door? That made my day.


Imogen Lamport December 12, 2008 at 11:51 pm

I hate all games – I think this is why I failed dismally at sport at school – the only time I’m happy to go and do some housework is when someone wants to play any sort of game.


Polish Mama on the Prairie
November 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

Oh, darn details! The fact that you bravely survived having your tonsils taken out in the USSR is testimony of your strength. And your ability to survive breaking your elbow on an elevator that may or may not have jumped out at you. *hugs*


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