I walked in the office last week and found a Ziploc bag full of M&M candies lying on the main table. Being a fan of the candy, I start to grab a handful when I notice writing on the bag. “How many are inside” the writing said.
“Guess how many are in there and you get the whole bag,” says editor James Clark as he swaggers out of his office.
What the heck. It’s not like I’m buying a lottery ticket. I start counting the pieces of candy but get interrupted.
“That’s cheating,” James observed. “You have to guess. That’s the spirit of the game.”
Rolling my eyes, since there were no rules written on the bag that prevented the participant from counting, I do a quick look over and do some mathematical calculations.
“One hundred and five,” I declare, fairly sure I’m in the ballpark.
“Wrong,” he says, giving me the old game show buzzer sound.
“Well, I didn’t think I’d hit it right on the head since you wouldn’t let me count,” I replied, already realizing I wouldn’t be the recipient of the delicious candy that melts in your mouth and not in your hand. “No one is going to get it exactly right.”
Wouldn’t you know it? Heather hit it on the head and won the bag. I got no M&M candies.
So why am I talking about a silly game we played here at the office? Because it’s a somewhat regular thing we do, coming up with novel ways to keep things interesting here because yes, there are such things as slow news days.
For instance, I once sat here and saw an employee, we will just call him Jonathan, eat 50 McNuggets in 20 minutes as part of a food challenge phase here. He was courteous enough to ask if he could go upchuck five minutes later.
Permission was granted and, from what he told me, he can’t stomach McNuggets anymore. Ad director Jeff Simmons has no such aversion to bananas after he completed a banana-eating challenge.
Then there was the planking stage. This is the exercise where you take a push up stance and hold yourself off the ground, kind of like a plank of wood, until you can’t do it any more. It was quite the competition until publisher Pat Zechman shattered the record one day, setting the bar so high beating it was unattainable. The results are still on a dry erase board in here, frozen in time.
Back in the old days, when we were young, we used to adjourn to the back lot and play field hockey on non-press days. There was one particularly hot day that I fully expected one of the staff to die of heat stroke.
By the way, the smell was aromatic after those games given that we don’t have a shower down here. I think there may have been a day that hockey-playing ability was a good reference if you wanted a job here.
As I said, that was years ago. Nowadays running a candy guessing game is the height of our athletic competition.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.