Amidst my confusion, I had a memory from childhood –– of a board game in which I would be traveling a path toward some goal, following random directions from sets of cards. There were bad guys in this game whose purpose was to delay my progress. The chief bad guy was named Grumpus, or something like that. I couldn't remember.
I also couldn''t remember the board game's name though I did recall it was one of those Snakes and Ladders games in which you are similarly on a path ... only to be dropped or ascended into another level where things might or might not go well. Like life's vicissitudes in general; or more concretely, like air travel or shopping malls.
Anyway, I began to experience the Rhapsody.com website as a board game, with the role of Grumpus played by the Pop-Up Blocker Detected window. Curious about the origin of my memory, I quizzed friends and family about their knowledge of children's board games and Grumpus. Happily for me, people responded and I learned some things.
I thanked my helpers, and what follows is an excerpt from a thank-you letter to one of those helpers, my sister. It reveals partial answers:
Dear ----, I believe the board game in question was
Uncle Wiggily. It had two bad guys, The Skeezicks
and (the one that really troubled me) The Bad
Pipsisewah –– a horned rhino-like beast which in
some editions of the game presented inexplicably
as a large red squid. (What, one wonders, was The
Good Pipsisewah?) Now the Uncle Wiggily book
also had a character named Bazumpus, although I
don't remember its nature or intentions.
Anyhow, I believe I conflated The Bad Pipsisewah
with Bazumpus and came out (strangely) with Grumpus.
It's also possible I did nothing of the sort.
Your inclusion into this mix of Dad's
"Oh, don't be such a grumpus"
complicates things with psycho-
dynamic possibilities. Dad was from
Tennessee, of course, where perhaps
they say things like that. So the roots
of my confusion may lie variously in
board games, literature, family
relations, or Tennessee.
|UNCLE WIGGLY (1954 Edition)|
I believe I am but at the dawn of understanding here. One thing I'll add, though. The destination in the game, the place we wind up at the end of the trail, is Dr. Possum's House. This is something we can all think about.