Saturday, July 16, 2011


If you are looking for ways to perk up a dull afternoon, allow me to suggest a new game I recently invented called Crone-Tipping.

How to play:
Approach an old lady on the street and say “Hey! I saw you.”
·         5 points if she makes a noise that can be characterized as a squeak, shriek, squeal or includes the word “police”
·         10 points if she darts out into traffic to escape from you
·         -10 points if she whacks you with her cane or shoves her walker into your groin
·         50 points – the score that inspired the name of the game - if she keels over in shock
Tips to maximize your score:
·         Display all your perforations and/or tattoos
·         Get as close to her as possible and delay your move to lull her into a false sense of security and maximize the startle effect
·         If possible, wait until she is performing some embarrassing act

The game is based on the human female Lookcycle, the origins of which are lost in the mists of time. Jungians believe the Lookcycle has its roots in the archetypes of Maiden, Mother and Crone that permeate mythology in all cultures. In a recent and unscientific study, I have produced the following definitive list of Lookcyle attributes that can be used by Crone Tippers to identify appropriate victims subjects.

Phase I, also known as the Look-at-me phase is characterized by the following identifiers:
·         Tight clothing in one or more of the following categories: miniskirts, tube tops, halter tops, short shorts
·         Midriff baring
·         Teetering when observed in conjunction with high heels
·         Unusual makeup such as green eye shadow, black lipstick, black nail varnish
Women in the Look-at-me phase, although excellent subjects for the ever-popular evening game of Pick-up, cannot be tipped.

Phase II, also known as the Don’t-look-at-me-too-closely phase, can be assessed by traits such as:
·         Camouflage clothing like scarves, tailored slacks, loose-fitting tops
·         Restrained makeup in natural colors
·         Crow’s feet, sometimes hidden by designer glasses with ornate frames
·         Dyed hair exhibiting no more than 1/8 inch of roots, usually arranged in a tidy and practical manner.
Women in the Don’t-look-at-me-too-closely phase are not suitable for any game and should be avoided as they may assume you are initiating a game of Pick-up. Extricating yourself from the situation could prove difficult.

Phase III, also known as the What-the-heck-no-one-is-looking phase, is the Crone-Tipper’s target demographic. This phase is defined by the following characteristics:
·         Saggy, body-obscuring clothing in dull or mismatched colors
·         Facial characteristics such as: wrinkles, wattles, jowls, liver spots
·         Teetering when observed in conjunction with orthopedic shoes.
·         Grey, white or improbably colored hair showing grey roots.

Women in the What-the-heck-no-one-is-looking phase are difficult to spot because the human eye slides over them. They are downers, visible reminders of what is to come for younger generations. Your mind edits them out of awareness and who can blame it? Hell, I don’t want to see them either, and I’m one of them.

Pseudo-invisibility gives us phase III’ers a sense of safety and freedom.

We no longer bother to avoid the awkwardness and hassle of construction sites. Hell, we could walk right through them without raising an eyebrow, let alone a wolf-whistle. (A few years ago in Amsterdam, I got a little drunk and stumbled into the red light district around 11 PM one night. I stumbled out an hour or so later completely unscathed after walking along some of the darkest alleyways in the seediest part of town. Not even the drug-dealers approached me.)

We sometimes wear the same outfit two or three days in a row, confident that even if someone became aware of our sartorial carelessness, they would not assume we’d had a night of wild sex with a guy we met in a bar and didn’t get home to change clothes. What self-respecting guy would be caught dead talking to an old lady in a bar?

We no longer worry about bad hair days. We have bad hair decades. We could style our hair with pinking shears and it wouldn’t make the slightest impression on passersby.

This is why, when you initiate a game of Crone-Tipping, you score points. We crones are so accustomed to being ignored, we are shocked when someone not only sees us, but actually talks to us.

How did I come to invent this game? Well, just after lunch one day last week, I was standing on a corner downtown, waiting for the light to change and attempting to extricate an errant parsley flake from between my teeth. A shirtless young man with a perforated chest and the tell-tale scent of a midday toke was also waiting for the lights to change. We stood side by side in silence for almost a minute, then he suddenly leaned toward me and exclaimed “Hey! I saw you!” He scored five points. He’d have scored fifteen, but the light changed just as I leaped off the curb to get away from him, nullifying the traffic points. He apologized very nicely for scaring me, and explained he’d seen my picture on a poster. (No, not that kind of poster. This one is an advertisement for the local launch of my book next week.)  

So that’s how I invented the game of Crone-Tipping and why I’m temporarily relegated back to Phase II of the Lookcycle.  

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