Amidst this confusion, I had a memory from childhood –– of a board game in which I would be going along 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, although 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 on a bad day, or air travel and shopping malls on an average day.
Anyhow, 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. Seeking to clarify the origin of my memory, I quizzed friends and family about their knowledge of children's board games and Grumpus. Happily for me, help was forthcoming, and I learned some things.
I thanked my helpers, and what follows is an excerpt from a thank-you 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.
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 only at the dawn of understanding here. One thing to add, though. The destination in the game, the place you wind up at the end of the trail, is Dr. Possum's House. This is something we can all think about.