M.A.S.H Up!

Mansion, apartment, shack, or house?

I wish somebody told me 35+ years ago that scoring an affordable and decent apartment in Jersey would be a romantic feat all on its own.

But M.A.S.H wasn’t played by pre-pubescent girls to give them a realistic glimpse into the future. We played it to visualize a dream life we didn’t know was almost entirely out of reach. I kind of wonder why we don’t play it anymore. Maybe now we just use alcohol for that.

The picture is me in one of my costumes for NKOTB’s cruise theme night, Bring Back the Time. It’s hard to see, but I am a walking version of this “fortune-telling” game. Amazon threw the notebook paper costume into my recommendations. Creating this get-up instantly came to mind. Though I loved how it came out, it didn’t accurately represent how my peers and I typically played the game.

Sure, occasionally we filled the husband category with all five of the Bad Brothers from the Beantown Land. My innocent, 11-year-old mind and lips were ready to steal Jonathan Knight away from Tiffany. If it was fated by a big spiral drawn on a piece of notebook paper, hey, anything was possible, right?

Oh, the delirium of being a preteen girl in a world full of boys – most unattainable, many unavoidable. Things never changed did they?

My husband category usually consisted of boys at school or in my neighborhood. I had an interesting approach to choosing my victims too. One boy would obviously be the cutest, most popular boy in school. Then another would be someone more middle-of-the-road, a boy I was crazy about but the other girls pretended they weren’t, simply because he wasn’t the Adonis in the school. I remember this kid Darren had a huge Joey McIntyre thing going on, in my humble opinion.

Everyone else thought he was a dorkier version of Alex Winter in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I never did find anyone who equaled Jonathan Knight though. Things never changed did they? 😉

Anyway, at least one celebrity often made it onto the possible husband list, but then I always had to have one boy I loathed with every hot, hormonal fiber of my being. The kid who relentlessly picked on me, but then told me I would have beautiful babies one day. It was a cliche, but it had some merit – the ones who picked on you the most were the ones most in love with you. Whatever the hell that meant at 11 years old.

The next category would typically be the number of children you’d have with the husband the universe picked out for you. Of course, this was before anyone, including our mothers, told us how remarkably painful childbirth actually is. And sex? Forget it. Most of us were told that sex was something Europeans did, only in Europe.

I did know how babies were made and born from a relatively young age for the 80’s/early 90’s. That was just the kind of mother I had. Her honesty, along with my lack of allure, helped me keep it in my pants until I was in college. Still, having 5+ kids didn’t seem out of the ordinary. People could pop out a bunch of puppies and still have dinner every night in those days.

I never understood why Siberia would often be used as the worst case scenario as far as possible place of residence. We used places like Alaska or Antarctica as miserable possibilities too. But Siberia only made me think of huskies with gorgeous, blue, Joey Mac eyes, and Antarctica made me think of fat, wobbly penguins. Oh, I would probably commit a felony if it meant I could live in a frosted, mountainous paradise like Alaska. I could certainly think of worse places – like Juarez, or Florida. But that’s just me.

If M.A.S.H ever makes a comeback in the Gen-X world, the game would have to evolve to 2023 reality and beyond, at least to some extent. Career must be the first category, but “prostitute” can still be used as the worst possibility. Now that we’re well aware that Pretty Woman was full of shit.

The cars can be more practical and efficient too. There is nothing wrong with a Jeep or an Acura. High end sports cars with balls-to-the-wall power are all fine and dandy, but in the 90’s we were paying less than a dollar a gallon for gas. Maybe the car category could be scrapped altogether and replaced with, “honey do’s” and “how old the kids will be when they move out.”

Then we couldn’t forget the pets since no matter who we shack up with and where, life plain old sucks without our fur babies. The worst pet for me? Any form of reptile. I don’t want to look at their lifeless, little eyes or feel their demonic skin. More power to anyone who adores these creatures but I’d rather be married to Elon Musk. (shhh, no I wouldn’t)

Regardless, I’m proud to say I was part of the M.A.S.H generation, and I was thankful so many people knew what I was dressed as. Maybe I’ll have to make another one for next year. Maybe I’ll give my actual husband a turn to be on the list.


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