In my restless Brexit-induced waking hours I’ve come up with a fun new game for a rainy day. Or an endless, sleepless night. It can be played in a group. Or on your own during those endless, sleepless nights.
All you need is a dice, some imagination, and a basic grasp of Margaret Atwood’s nightmare, dystopian vision of our future (or an appreciation that Brexit, Boris Johnson and Steve Bannon amount to much the same thing).
Are you ready?
It’s called The Gilead Game. (I’ve chosen Atwood’s fictional setting, but feel free to come up with any similar theonomy/ethnostate…simply base it on your own country, but with added far-right, hysteria. These days, it’s easier to picture than ever).
First you make a list, 1-6, of your favourite Handmaid’s Tale parts.
You might, for example, have chosen the following:
1: Handmaid. 2: Commander. 3: Martha. 4: Eye. 5: Aunt. 6: Gender Traitor.
Then you roll the dice and imagine how your life would be in the Gilead of your making. Simple.
Actually, you don’t even need a dice. You could just place yourself in one of the categories. For example, my husband and I would both have to pick “Gender Traitor”. Our lives in Gilead would then involve a period of running from the authorities; hiding out in cold, dark places; before being rounded up and publicly executed. Such fun!
By the way, if you’re a writer, thinker, journalist, liberal, socialist, feminist, etc…you might as well just choose “Gender Traitor” too. The end result is the same.
An alternative, but no less fun, game occurred to me the other night. During dinner at my in-laws, my niece (15) picked up on one of my regular rants. She interrupted me and asked what I’d meant by “the rapid rise of the far right”. I thought for a moment, then did what any self-respecting uncle would do: explain exactly what the far right is, and the danger it poses. This then led to a discussion on Brexit. All conversations end this way these days.
We talked about the possible (likely?) food shortages and that we might all have to rely on local food sources to survive. In Scotland, we decided, this would result in a diet based solely on rhubarb and turnips (or swedes or rutabaga, if you must). This, assuming Scots are willing to go into the fields and collect the food themselves. Remember folks, there’ll be no migrant labour this time next year!
And thus my other diverting game was devised. I’m calling it, quite simply, “Live or Die?”. In this game you split into two teams to come up with as many tasty, nutritious meals as you can made solely from these two ingredients. Give your teams names why don’t you? Turnip Tops and Rhubarb Fools, perhaps?
I can promise you that this game is easily as much fun as my Gilead game. Although the end result is basically the same, because if a diet based on mashed turnip and boiled rhubarb isn’t a dystopian nightmare, then I don’t know what is.
Sweet dreams everyone. (Not that there’ll me any sugar to sweeten that rhubarb, mind).