Non Sequitur Fridays

Excerpts From the Imagined Lives of Various Guess Who Characters

This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistia team member's take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It's like our "employee of the month" but less "of the month"-y. Liat Werber is a designer at Wistia. Her last post was about playing games with friends.

At some point or another, you've probably played the popular board game called Guess Who. The game itself is pretty boring if you're above the age of ten, but what interests me about Guess Who are the characters. They are all grotesques. They are not all terrible. Some are whimsical, some just wretched, and one of them is a Republican senator (Robert), but each one seems to be harboring a sinister or painful secret that has twisted them into these queer figures. In each of the stories below, I describe a moment in the life of one of these eccentrics. See if you can guess which one is which and then hold your mouse down over a character to see if you were right.

The Excommunicated Monk

"Hello, welcome to Rodney's Used Bookstore. May I help you with anything?" I studied monastic literature, philosophy, ethics, and, of course, the biblical and Talmudic scriptures. "Oh, Home Improvement? That's in the back." The customer wove around me, dodging eye contact, and headed for the back of the store. All day, as every day, I made feeble attempts at interaction with patrons, met with so much distaste that I began to feel truly unsavory. I paced along an aisle of mustardy self-help books, tapping a knobby finger along their spines.

I wasn't, I promise you, foolish enough to imagine that the whole mainstream world had somehow discovered my deep dark past and now turned against me. But still—the man who avoided my gaze, the old lady who grimaced at my appearance, the baby who took one look at me and started to cry, I couldn't help but feeling that they were all in cahoots.

The Retired Professor

It was 4 o' clock on Thanksgiving day and he sat in front of his TV set. "Good lord, what in tarnation is this?" A gratuitously large balloon animal had overtaken the screen and a man in a tuxedo stood in front of it, narrating the events. He flicked off the set. "Hmm, yes, well I suppose it's time to eat anyways," he said aloud, as though someone were waiting for him to say so. The dining room table was attractively laid, with a single place setting. He stared at it. It was funny in a strange way: the supercilious turkey, clad in cranberry sauce, seated proudly next to his humble plate.

He ambled around the perimeter of the small, fire-lit room and over to the mirror, where an elbow padded coat hung from a hook. The coat had become brown with age. It was frayed at the sleeves and the pockets were crusted with tobacco dust. He put on the coat. He folded and refolded his handkerchief. He fixed his bow tie, combed his hair, and smoothed out his shirt. Finally, he returned to the table to partake in his solitary Thanksgiving feast.

The Doorman with a Teapot Collection

No one would ever have guessed that our quiet, unassuming doorman might be a teapot collector. And yet, that was the ugly truth. The disturbing news was brought forth by the receptionist, who had seen him through the window of an antique shop and was now circulating through the building. By that afternoon, it had reached the building manager. "That can't be right…" he said, gazing off in the direction of the front door. He looked perturbed, but returned to his office and sat back at his desk.

The next day, in the lobby, a loud-mouthed man from the fourth floor blurted out, "Hey doorman, can I offer you some tea?" The doorman flushed. He was confused by the offer of tea from someone who didn't seem to have any to offer. "I-I-I… N-no thank you." The lobby was silent. There could be no question about it now. No further investigation necessary. The following week, the doorman was asked to resign. When news got out about his resignation, we all agreed it was probably for the best. Grown men shouldn't have teapot collections.

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