I made a huge mistake. I bought my children the game Twister for Christmas. In my defense, I was probably deep in the pre-Christmas haze when I bought it, where I’m sure it seemed like a really good idea. I can see myself standing there in the aisle of the toy store, envisioning my children playing Twister together for hours on end, laughing and getting exercise while their father and I lounge comfortably on the couch in front of the fire, wearing cashmere sweaters and drinking hot toddies in the gentle glow of the Christmas tree as we gaze upon our happy children with love and amusement. Of course I never pictured having to actually play it with my children, who are all elbows and hair and shrieks while playing Twister, and yet every time we have played in the months since, my full participation has been required—nay, demanded.


 Just look at this old Twister ad. In what world would respectable adults ever want to play this game together, especially while dressed in such restrictive suits and ties? Without holding alcoholic beverages? Give me a break, Milton Bradley.

A few days ago S, my adorable, bossy-boots of a three year old, wanted to play Twister with me. Now, I’m in for any game that will allow me to lie on the couch for five minutes, so I decided that I would volunteer to be the spinner. However, she insisted on being the spinner. Once we had the mat laid out, she drove this point home even more by picking up the spinner and saying to me (and very formally, I might add), “Now get on the mat, my sir.”

So, for the next 10 minutes, I “twisted” for her amusement. She would tell me to put my foot on red. “Which foot?” I would ask, panting, hands firmly planted on green and blue, head hanging down so I couldn’t see the spinner, old bones and joints cricking and cracking under me. “That one.” She would say. So I would move a foot. “No, the other one.” I’d move the other foot. “No, the other one.”

Then later, when it was finally her turn (because, “Whoops, Mommy fell down! Ha ha ha—your turn!”), and I’d call out, “Left hand blue!” or, “Right foot green!” she would just stand there lazily, one hand on her hip, and say, “I can’t reach that, Mommy,” or, “I’m not going to do that, Mommy.” Say what?! I thought to myself. Funny, I didn’t know simply refusing to play was an option!

It’s become clear to me that the solution to my problem is simple: I just need a time machine, so I can go back in time, get my hands on every copy of Twister KNOWN TO MAN, and destroy them. This will protect myself, and many other parents, from being taken in so easily by its bright, cheerful circles and images of active, laughing children, and we can all choose a nice, relaxing game for our children, instead. Hungry, Hungry Hippos, for example . . . that seems like a nice, calm sort of game . . .

If you’re thinking, “Hey! I was planning on buying Twister for MY kids!” then to you I say: you’re welcome. 

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6 thoughts on “Twisted

  1. Katie

    Haha, your word imagery; “…while their father and I lounge comfortably on the couch in front of the fire, wearing cashmere sweaters and drinking hot toddies in the gentle glow of the Christmas tree as we gaze upon our happy children with love and amusement,” so good!
    My parents bought Twister for me when I was in late elementary school – THAT was a great age for it because (while we had to write ‘L’ and ‘R’ on some of my friend’s hands, I will not say who, but it was not me) it didn’t require any help from parents, we were still small and flexible enough to do the moves, and we were still young enough to think it was funny.
    My parents STILL have my game of Twister and you’re right, when my kids play it at their house they absolutely insist Colin and/or I play it with them. It’s not a pretty sight, nor is it relaxing.

    1. Juli Post author

      Good to know, Katie! Maybe I will bury it in the backyard until my kids are older …

  2. Jenna

    At work we banned any and all games that encouraged our kids to remove their shoes. You could smell those feet from two blocks away! Twister is a total no-no, though I would have thought that you’d embraced it, what with your new-found love of yoga..?

    1. Juli Post author

      Good point – stinky sock feet! Another evil worth noting – thank you Jenna! As for Yoga, I find it comes with less elbows, hair and shrieks, and it encourages poses that leave me feeling more open and properly stretched, as opposed to crunched up and sore. Also, Twister has added a “fun” new feature – a “spinner’s choice” section where the spinner decides on an additional challenge to give you while you are already twisted and contorted beyond what I consider safe for my adult body to do, especially while suspended over a small child that I could crush at ANY moment. This fun challenge could be anything! Examples of these that my children enjoy subjecting us to (while we are already precariously balanced) are “Wiggle your bum!” or “Put your hands AND feet into the air!” Until gravity lessens, or I figure out how to levitate, I will probably not be enjoying Twister.

  3. Kristen

    Uhhhh Hungry Hungry Hippos anyone? All that bashing for what? To have my son stuff a bunch of marbles in his mouth too because the hippos were full? No thanks. We ban noisy games. That and memory games with too many cards. I never win.

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