Apples to Apples

Every time Zach and I go to a party and someone suggests we play the popular and delightful game Apples to Apples, I have to quickly suggest another option, such as taking turns punching one another in the stomach.

That’s how bad Zach is at Apples to Apples.

If you’re not familiar with A2A, the premise is simple yet unique: Each player receives seven red cards, each with a noun printed on it. They then take turns being the judge, who draws from a stack of green cards with adjectives on them. The other players decide which of their noun cards best fits that adjective. The judge ranks the red cards, and the person who put in the No. 1 card — according to the judge AND NO ONE ELSE — wins that round.

Anyone who’s ever played A2A understands the key is to play into the personality of the current judge. For example, if the person likes funny or ironic combinations (which make the game infinitely more enjoyable than the seriously lame literal pairings, I might add), then you know that during her turn, you should opt for that over a noun that works in a more conventional sense. All other humans who have played A2A fully comprehend this and strategize accordingly. Zach does not.

See, when Zach plays A2A, he apparently loses the quick sense of wit and humor he exudes so effortlessly otherwise. If you played with him, you’d soon realize he’s one of those people who prefers the literal pairings, and whenever his turn rolled around, you’d play a card to suit this preference.

So, while playing the combination “delicious babies” might be some of the funniest shit ever, you would still put down “chocolate cake” if it were Zach’s turn. Unless you didn’t give a shit about his preference and just wanted to create the funniest combination possible, because who needs to take life that seriously when you’re getting drunk with a bunch of college buddies and you just want to laugh and have a good time?

That scenario describes the first time Zach and I played A2A. It was a wintry Friday night our senior year, and we were hanging out with a bunch of co-workers from the school newspaper, enjoying some adult beverages. We started the game, and most everyone quickly caught on.

One guy in particular took to the ironic combinations, so when he judged, everyone knew to come up with the most absurd pairing possible. Except Zach. Zach still played the most literal choice he could, and he grew increasingly angry each time the other player chose another card over his.

One time, this player drew the “neglected” card. Zach played “New Orleans,” while someone else played the noun “politicians.” When the judge chose “neglected politicians” over “neglected New Orleans,” I thought Zach was going to lose it. (Granted, this was about a year after Katrina, FEMA and heckuva job Brownie, so it was probably the best choice …)

At this point, I should have foreseen the storm brewing. When he threatened to quit the game, I should not have persuaded him otherwise. I should have faked dysentery and asked him to take me home. (Yes, telling my friends I had the grossest disease you could get on the Oregon Trail would have been better than what happened next.)

But I didn’t. Oh, how I didn’t …

Next, someone drew the word “cosmic” from the adjective pile. Zach laid down the “big bang theory.” As the big bang theory is about as cosmic as it gets, he considered this a sure-fire winner. Someone else played “bigfoot.” It came down to “big bang theory” and “bigfoot.”

“Bigfoot” won.

Zach freaked out.

“No. NO! There is NOTHING more cosmic than the big bang theory! This game is so GAY!”

(Now, Zach is a fairly upstanding individual who doesn’t normally throw around the word “gay” to mean “stupid” like an illiterate, ignorant seventh-grader would. Nor would we have started dating in the first place if he did. But Apples to Apples had thrown him into such a blinding rage that he reverted to this uncouth description.)

“I’M LEAVING!” he bellowed. He shot a glance at me, foam dripping from his mouth. “ARE YOU COMING WITH ME?”

I sat at the table, a little panicked, my eyes flitting back and forth between him and the group of drunk people snickering at his outburst. On the one hand, he was my normally calm, personable boyfriend. On the other hand, he was acting like a psycho.

I chose to go with him. Mainly because I was mortified and didn’t want to explain his behavior if I stayed. We barely spoke in the car. (I told him I would prefer if he wouldn’t use the word “gay” like that; he replied, “Yeah, fine, whatever.”)

To this day, no one can mention A2A to Zach without provoking a fit of rage. Just last week, a friend mentioned it on Facebook, and he immediately commented to say how stupid it is.

I’ve given up trying to explain it to him, because he just doesn’t get it. In my last attempt, I tried to explain that the other players didn’t always agree with the judge’s choice, but they didn’t freak out.

His reply?

“So, if you see someone getting attacked, and everyone else is staying calm, but you’re sort of freaking out and want to call 9-1-1, does that make you the weird one? NO!”

That’s more like comparing apples to oranges than apples to apples, I replied.

No wonder he doesn’t get it.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by KC on July 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    OMG, Allison! Zach, you’re being ridiculous, when you are in general a cool, funny, witty guy.

    Reply

  2. Psh. Whatever. Cosmic Bigfoot is the best band name ever!

    Reply

  3. […] I don’t play Apples to Apples often. Whenever Zach and I go to a get-together involving party games, I have to warn the host that if we play it, my husband will literally flip the f*ck out. […]

    Reply

  4. Posted by britblog1967 on January 13, 2014 at 11:01 am

    This post is hilarious. Admittedly, it took me a game or two of A2A to figure it out (though I’m infinitely sarcastic and random in general, which seems perfect for A2A), and I “didn’t get what all the hype was about.” I quickly learned, however, and now I love it. Have you played Cards Against Humanity?

    Reply

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