Beaten by the beat

One of the games the boys and I play is a “beat” game. One person makes a beat, carries it for a little while, and then calls out a name. That person must immediately reply with a new beat. By “beat,” I mean simply making a rhythm. You can tap or pound or clap or scat or beat box or just about anything, but it has to be rhythmic. The only thing you absolutely can’t do is stay quiet.

If you do that, you get the buzzer – where everyone else does their best to imitate a hockey buzzer.

I don’t really know how these games develop. Some I come up with. Some the boys come up with. Some are introduced by their momma. Most just sort of grow organically.

This one arrived in the car one day, and the boys and I have been playing it off and on ever since.

Yesterday, as we were driving between errands, my youngest started doing a beat. I think he was bored. My wife and I were talking, and his older brother was reading, leaving him nothing to do.

“Boom-da-boom, boom, boom, da-boom.” He went on for a while and then shouted his brother’s name.

His brother didn’t even look up from his book. “Psh-pappa-da. Psh, pshh, pappa-da.” He’s into beat-boxing these days, but lacks the training. It was, nevertheless, a rhythm. He did a couple versus, and then called out “Daddy!”

I was in mid-sentence with my wife, when I heard the call. “Scabbity-ba-ba! Ba-doo-bi-doo-ba!” You guessed it. When I’m not prepared, my default is a scat sort of thing. I don’t know why. I managed to pull together some kind of beat.

My wife, bless her heart, has grown accustomed to our completely inexplicable behavior. She waited patiently while I finished my beat, trying very hard not to roll her eyes.

“Momma,” I shouted.

Those un-rolling eyes widened in panic as silence filled the car.

“You need to do a beat,” I whispered. My intent had been to include her, not set her up, but now I could see in the rearview mirror that both boys were staring at her. She was in the hot seat, and the quiet was growing unbearably heavy. 

“I can’t think of anything,” she hissed at me.

“ERRRRRR!” The buzzers sounded from both boys and (I have to admit) from me.

Now she did roll her eyes, and I can’t say I blame her.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Here are some other Halloween tales from previous years:

  • 2010: Waiting to be King: Not even a little scary
  • 2008: Pockets: Not precisely Halloween, this one is still pretty scary
  • 2007: Flash: The saddest Halloween story ever
  • 2006: Lost: Scary from a child’s perspective
  • 2005: A Daddy’s Halloween: The scariest Halloween story ever

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