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Bear with me on this one: I like word games. And this is a little ode to some of my favorites.

I was an English major; I avoid math like the pox; and I have a special place in my heart for games like Boggle, Scrabble, Balderdash, and Apples to Apples. But I also love plays on words, and my all-time favorite Jeopardy! category is “Before and After”. (Apparently it’s Jeopardy!’s also).

Sometimes I hear Before and Afters in the real world. For instance, I am not sure if Rodney Atkins intended it, but one of his latest songs directs you to “ask directions from a genie in a bottle of Jim Beam.” I love it!

And when you were a kid, did you play “Beach Ball” on road trips with the other passengers? You know, one person starts “Beach Ball” and using the last word to form the start of the next phrase, the game goes on: “Ball State” … “State College” … “College Station” (yeah, okay, so I’m thinking football season already) … whatever.

I’m inspired by what’s sitting on my desk right now: one of Clive Cussler’s audiobooks “Lost Empire”. If this were Jeopardy!, the clue might be: “Clive Cussler’s take on Episode V.”  Alright Alex, What is Lost Empire Strikes Back!

And to make it worse, I’ll limit it to a category. Let’s say: Entertainment (books, movies, etc.). So… let’s take our prior Before and After and continue it, in the category. Here we go: Lost Empire | Empire Strikes Back | Back to the Future | Future Perfect | Perfect Strangers | Strangers in the Night | Night Ranger | … and so we go.

It’s my little version of mental gymnastics, I think. But I wonder if other people have something similar? Are there other games people run through their own minds, perhaps on the drive to work? Or, while on a conference call? Or, before they fall asleep at night?

Whether it does anything for mental longevity, I have no idea. But I do know that give me a Beach Ball and I’m off and running toward the Ball Room (looking for Room Service at the Service Door).

And please, feel free to leave me your own Before & Afters! I mean, you can do better than I can with “Betty White Sox”, right?

~M

Retro re-post of the day: 1-Year Anniversary and Retirement of a Legend.

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