You know that game called Telephone, the one where you start out with a word like “salmon” and by the time it gets passed around a circle through a series of whispers it’s been changed to “”salmonella” or “sliced bacon” or “Houshmanzadeh”?
In many ways it’s a very stupid game.
But occasionally the principles of this game do have some bearing on everyday life.
For instance, imagine that you’re in Brooklyn one Friday night in October of 2007, in an area that we’ll call “Park Slope.”
From there, you’re supposed to go meet some friends in another part of Brooklyn. You get on the phone with one of those friends, and he tells you that you’re supposed to go to the corner of Flushing and Classon.
Not having a pen, you make a note of this in your mind, which is usually quite reliable for these sorts of things.
But a second later, your one friend passes off the phone and your other friend gets on the line, and when you confirm the location with him, he says that you’re supposed to meet at Flatbush and Classon.
In the midst of a crowded bar and a surrounding group of friends and this one guy you know insisting that you should trade him Jon Kitna, you think nothing of the switch.
Flushing, Flatbush. Flatbush, Flushing.
You commandeer a taxi outside and tell him your destination. Flatbush and Classon, please. He doesn’t flinch – until about seven minutes later when he tells you he doesn’t know exactly where Flatbush runs into Classon.
Obviously you have no clue, but not wanting to be too obvious about that, you play it cool. The cabbie then asks another driver in a car stopped next to you where Flatbush and Classon is, and the other guy confidently says that Flatbush and Clarkson is not too far away – just keep going straight and you’ll hit it.
Classon, Clarkson. Clarkson, Classon.
Going along with the principles of the game of Telephone, when you hear these slightly different words, you just assume that they are the words that were originally intended. Of course it’s supposed to be Clarkson and not Classon – Classon is a strange street name that you’ve never heard of anyways.
A few minutes pass, your cab arrives at the corner of Flatbush and Clarkson, and you hop out.
A few seconds later, you realize that this was a bad idea.
The time is now past 2 a.m., the streets are somewhat dark and largely empty, and it suddenly becomes blatantly clear that you're nowhere close to your destination. If there's an internal map somewhere in your brain, you have very clearly fallen off it.
You call your friend and he laughs as he hears that you’re at the wrong corner of F-word and C-word. It's easy to laugh when you're not the one who lost at Telephone.
You hang up with him quickly, as you realize that time is of the essence in departing from this somewhat eerie locale.
Fortunately, a yellow cab comes through, and the light on top indicates that it's vacant.
Unfortunately, the driver doesn’t even consider stopping as he sees you waving your arms. In fact, he doesn’t even see you waving your arms because he appears to be so intent on getting out of this area as fast as possible.
You briefly lament that you forgot to charge your teleporter before leaving your apartment. But before you go too far into dreaming of teleporters, another yellow cab comes through. The driver appears to be looking five miles down the road with no peripheral vision as he darts through.
You can swear you hear a woman's voice whispering through the unseasonably balmy autumn air:
Dear God, make me a bird, so I could fly far, far far away from here.
Meanwhile, a semi-illiterate Tom Hanks is attempting to locate Flatbush and Clarkson on a map.
Before you can fully bottom out, salvation appears in the form of a livery cab that slows down next to you with a quick honk of the horn, clearly acknowledging your predicament.
You hop inside, ask the man if he can take you to Flatbush and Classon. He says yes. You ask him how much that will cost (as if any price in the world will keep you from getting into this cab).
He ponders for a moment and says “15 dollars.”
You hop in, slam the door shut, and as the cab heads off towards the F and C streets you were originally looking for, you wonder for a brief second if he might have actually said “50.”