So how many of you have been scarred by a raucous round of musical chairs? I can’t be the only one.

I mean really, who came up with this concept in the first place? Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s circle up a group of kids – even better if we hop them up on cake and punch first – and set out chairs for a slow motion race. We can play some kind of music and when it stops they have to sit down, but here’s the kicker. WE’LL MAKE IT ONE CHAIR SHORT so somebody gets kicked out each round. 🎼 Da dum, da dum, da dumbady dum. Da dum, da dum, da dum dum. Da dum, da dum, da 🎼 STOP!! Trust me, watching them freak out over finding a seat will be a riot.

Sadists.

It’s been a long time since I’ve played musical chairs (thank God) but I have distinct memories of the experience. The stress. The anxiety. The palpitations that grew more intense the longer the music played, because the longer the music played the closer we were to them turning the music off so the closer we were to lunging for a spot. The utter dejection of having everyone point and laugh as you stood there, alone, chairless, feeling like the loser who couldn’t pull off the easiest freaking job on the planet, SITTING DOWN. Hell, gravity does 2/3 of the work but noooo, there you are, standing on those legs like you’ve forgotten how to use your butt.

Kids got a little cutthroat playing musical chairs, too. It was nothing to be on the receiving end of a NHL-worthy hip check that threw you to the floor. It’s all fun and games, sure, but when you’re eight years old and looking at the chance to win a candy bar – well, all’s fair in love and chocolate. And when the kid you’re playing with loves chocolate then all bets are off.

It probably won’t come as much of a shock to anybody that my kids never ever hosted a single birthday party with musical chairs on the agenda. I might have to carry those memories with me for a lifetime but there was no way I was doing that to somebody else’s kid.


Linda hosts Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt is “musical.”