Although largely overshadowed by the death of a Mansfield, Ohio, man who wanted his casket to be carried by six Cleveland Browns so the team could “let me down one last time,” the passing of Chuck Foley last week also deserves mention.
How can you not pause in reverent remembrance of the man who co-invented “sex in a box?”
That wasn’t the official name of Mr. Foley’s invention, of course. The patented name was “Apparatus for Playing a Game Wherein the Players Constitute the Game Pieces.”
But we just called it “Twister.”
The game was introduced by Milton Bradley in 1966 and sold tens of millions of copies. Unlike other popular games of the era — Monopoly, Clue, Risk — there was nothing cerebral about Twister. It was purely physical.
Two or more players took off their shoes, placed a vinyl mat on the floor, spun a wheel and put their hands and feet in places on the mat as instructed. Players wound up in improbable and, frequently, suggestive positions — which is what led competitors to disparage it with the “sex in a box” accusation.
I’m not sure how many people these days play the kind of games that were popular when Twister brought friends and families literally together. Statistics are inconclusive and the concept of home entertainment continues to evolve. Games that involved cards, spinning wheels and dice have been replaced by games at home — and just about everywhere else — that are played on screens, both large and small.
When my kids were little, some of the longest hours of my parenthood were spent playing Candyland or Chutes and Ladders with them. When they got older, we all sprawled on the living room floor for Monopoly marathons.
The last time we had a family get-together, my wife brought out a collection of board games she thought we all could play. But it never happened. The adults sat around, talked and periodically checked their smartphones. The kids hunched over their hand held devices. During the entire weekend I never saw any of my nephews’ or nieces’ faces. Only the tops of their heads.
Even if we could have gotten them to play one of the board games, I’m not sure they would have understood the concept of moving a little token across spaces on a board instead of merely tapping an icon on a screen. And if they rolled a six and a four with the dice, they probably would have needed to tap the calculator app on their smartphones to determine that the total was 10.
But I’m pretty sure that nothing on Xbox can bring us all together — literally — as “sex in a box” once did.