Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Boaters buzzword bingo

When I was a working man, I use to attend the odd conference. Such events were supposed to tell us about new challenges, teach us new tricks and allow us to meet our fellow sufferers in the profession. Sadly, more often than not, the quality of the speakers were such that the main challenge we faced was staying awake. So in order to stay alert we used to play games. These games fell into two categories.

a) Predict the time elapsed before the latest most trendy buzzword (agreed in advance) was used by a speaker. My favourite for this at IT conferences was the phrase “leverage your investment” Leverage in this context was always pronounced to rhyme with beverage.

b) Buzzword bingo. Each player had a 4x4 grid and wrote a trendy and preferably annoying buzzword or phrase in each square. When a speaker uses one of these words you mark off the square and continue until you have four in a row, at which point you give small cheer to alert your colleagues that you have won and claim your free drinks in the bar that evening.

Game a) can be spoilt if a speaker, as once happened, uses the chosen phrase in his first sentence!

It occurs to me that Buzzword bingo might be a useful tool for boaters to keep in their back pocket, as boaters love to talk at length and the same topics always crop up. A stroll along the towpath at Saul junction last week resulted in three separate very lengthy conversations started by the slightest chance remark or action from me. For instance, all I did was peer at the cabling from a solar panel and half an hour later I not only had a run down on the boat's electrics , but also rather more detail than I need on on someones medical history. In a Gloucester docks antique emporium I happened to mention to a stall lady that I liked her painted roses and ended up with a complete run down on lock keepers, river conditions and mooring places on the river Severn. I imagine that in an hour I could have got a full house on buzzword bingo.

Thinking up 16 words or topics for our grid is easy. How about:

Toilets ( a sure winner), batteries, BW, mooring overstayers,

Unlicenced boats, paint, vandals, diesel prices

Cyclists, lock etiquette, dog poo, new marinas

Noisy generators, malfunctioning locks, favourite pubs, hire boats

A winning line is virtually guaranteed within 20 minutes. Sadly I notice that most of these are have negative connotations. Well us boaters do like our little grumble don’t we.

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