Hey, guess what time it is! That's right, it's 'almost' spring-time!
And you know what that means...
(You do, don't you?)
Hint: Within the next 90 days you'll be taking out a home equity line of credit on your house to do something both entertaining and educational...
Hmm, what could it be?
Yup, you've got it! You'll be using that $12,486.24 home equity line of credit to buy gas and meals on this year's road trip with your family! (Double the home equity line of credit requirement if you own a Yukon Denali or Dodge Durango - yeah, it's got a Hemi!).
When you have an SUV that's big enough to have it's own zip code and is capable of being viewed from space with the naked eye, you'll probably also have a DVD player, video game inputs, and / or hot tub on board.
But... what you really need is a 'bonding exercise' to bring your family 'closer'.
What fun is traveling, if all the kids have do is watch movies you can't see, and laugh at jokes you can't hear because they're wearing headphones (and all YOU have to do is talk to your spouse)?
AND because they're kids, they're probably pointing at, and laughing at YOU because you don't realize they're watching full-length 'adult' DVDs that they found in your sock drawer next to a couple of your 'spare' zero-balance credit cards.
Oh, and before I forget, the new 42" flat-panel LCD TV will look really great in their room next to the drum set (both of these items were ordered online just before you left the house this morning).
Yes, you'll need some 'quality' bonding times to get through the days ahead.
It is with these facts in mind that I offer you the 'I Have a Cow' game. It's fun, it's easy, and best of all, it's FREE! (For a limited time only, other restrictions may apply...)
So here's how it works...
OFFICIAL RULES FOR THE 'I HAVE A COW' ROAD GAME:
- Your objective is to have verified sightings of five (5) cows during your road trip (sounds easy doesn't it?)
- The first player to see, and KEEP their five cows wins
- But wait, there's more...
- When you leave your home each player receives one COMPLIMENTARY 'starter' cow
- As you are riding along the highways and byways of _____________________ (insert state's name here); the first person to see a cow, photo of a cow, or the word 'COW' shouts, "I have a cow!" If the cow 'sighting' is verified by another player in the vehicle, the person first seeing the cow gets credit for this, their 'second' cow
- If there is NO visual confirmation of the cow, there is no credit given for this sighting because sometimes people 'just see things that aren't there' in order to win the game
- If someone sees a 'sheep' on a hillside and shouts, "I have a cow"; (the sheep is obviously NOT a cow, (except in some counties in Georgia)). This player is penalized one cow and their cow is brutally, yet figuratively, dispatched
- You can only call a single cow from a single dairy farm at a time. For example, if there are 219 cows grazing in a field, only a single cow can be claimed from the, what I believe is called, the 'flock'. (Well, at least, that's what I herd...). If you could claim all the cows at once, the game would only about last four minutes in most parts of Central New York and there would be NO bonding with your family and you might as well just let the kids watch those adult videos and continue to laugh at you from the middle row of the SUV or Minivan
- It can't be as easy as just seeing cows, can it? No, you will also see cemeteries along the way and these are a vitally important aspect of the game. Cemeteries (a.k.a.: Marble Orchards) were placed strategically along roadways to allow you to make the 'game' more interesting. If you, or any other players in the car, see a Cemetery (as indicated by headstones, dead people, or 'Dawn of the Dead' zombie-types bumping into, and falling over each other), you MUST shout, "All your cows are dead!" to the other players in the car.
- Once again, the cemetery must be confirmed by another player in the car (they will HATE doing this) before you effectively 'murder' all of the other players' cows. You, however, get to KEEP your cows since the player who saw the cemetery keeps their cows, and has immunity from 'death' (until the next cemetery is spotted, and once again, helpless cows are slaughtered 'virtually', in your vehicle).
- If you shout "All your cows are dead!" because you saw a rock, and it 'kind of looked like' a headstone but there was NO cemetery, YOU lose all of your cows.
PARENTS, ONLY SECTION! (You kids, get back to that movie you were watching...):
- Add excitement to the game by randomly shouting out, "I have a...". Your kids will hear you begin, and they'll cut you off to scream, "I have a cow!" as loudly as their little lungs will allow (since there was NEVER a cow and you were just 'funnin' the little tykes, they lose one of theirs). Whoever finishes the statement 'first' wins, or in this case, loses.
- For a variation of the above theme, you can also randomly shout, "All your cows are..." and your kids (and sometimes your spouse) will finish for you and they will lose all of their cows because as YOU know, there was never a cemetery to begin with. And if you kill cows without a cemetery, all of your cows are killed (painlessly, and without bloodshed, of course)
- If two of you kids (with three and four cows each) are piling on the third, younger, child (who can't get a cow to save his life), you should institute a 'cow transfer' capability wherein adults can give cows to younger children, but children cannot 'merge' their cows to come up with five (5) total cows. This gives younger kids a chance to win (where no chance would otherwise exist), and really ticks off the older two because, in a 'bonding' exercise, isn't that the effect you're really going for anyway? (Oh, sorry, in retrospect, that was the diversity training I had to take when I worked at Lucent Technologies -- scratch that last 'bonding' reference...)
- If you are in a part of the U.S. that has no cows visible (who'd want to live THERE?) feel free to modify the game to something more geographically appropriate. For example, when in Florida, you can play either the "I have a gator!", or "I have a poisonous snake that wants to kill me!" version of the game. When in Washington, DC, for example, your family can play the "I have a no good, take all my money, and give me nothing for it, politician!" game. This version of the game typically lasts less than 18 seconds since everyone in Washington IS a politician, and it's hard to shout "All your politicians are dead!" since there are no cemeteries in DC as bodies are hidden in filing cabinets in most major federal office buildings that YOU pay for, but YOU can't enter (especially if you're driving an SUV at the time). Plus, if you yell "All of your politicians are dead!" in downtown DC, the Department of Homeland Security will drag you from your SUV, put you in an orange jumpsuit, and send you to a place with NO cows at all for the rest of your days.
If nothing else, the 'Cow' game will get everyone looking out the windows for a while, and if you're lucky enough, you might just be able to 'Have a Cow' with your family this summer.
Even when I'm travelling for work in my car, I catch myself looking up through the windshield and saying, "I have a cow" under my breath.
I'm hooked, I'm a 'Cow' fan. I AM the cow -- Moo Moo Ma Moo!
Enjoy your spring! Go on, get Mooooooooving....
Bet you can't wait to get to the Ocean this summer...
I'll race ya!