Did you play telephone as a child? The first player whispers a phrase to the next child in the circle, who whispers it to the next, and so on. By the time the phrase comes all the way around, it has mutated enough to prompt a giggle. The larger the circle, the more the message may change. This year, coronavirus has circulated long enough to mutate into a form more able to bind to cells and fend off antibodies: the Delta variant.
Everything I ever needed to know about the Delta variant I learned in grade school. Did you ever play sardines? More and more children cram into a hiding place until there are too many to hide. Similarly, the Delta variant overcrowds the respiratory tract. Compared to the coronavirus we first knew, it multiplies faster, becomes infectious sooner, and reaches a much higher viral load.
Did you play Red Rover? At Suncrest Grade School, opposing teams faced each other in lines. Our team dared someone from the other side to try to break through our clasped hands: “Red Rover, Red Rover, we dare [name] come over!” A strong runner could break a weak link in our human chain. On today’s coronavirus playground, the Delta variant runs hard enough to cause mild breakthrough infections in some fully vaccinated people.
7/19/2021 10:25:15 am
We played those games. The telephone game we also called "Gossip," which I suspect the teacher named it so to teach us how gossip starts. And the picture of your school sort of freaked me out because the building is almost identical to my Barber School I attended south of Barneveld and Blue Mounds, WI.
7/19/2021 07:31:59 pm
Christine, sounds like there are a lot of similarities in our early school memories. We were on the border between town and county, where plywood postwar housing was gobbling up farmland fast. Outside Madison I see square brick houses with this same appearance, former one-room schools from before the era of school consolidation.
CHARLDA L THOMPSON
7/29/2021 11:55:56 am
Thank you for this, Sarah! We played the telephone game and all the crazy information you hear now reminds me of that.
7/30/2021 06:27:32 am
Charlda, glad the telephone game analogy works for you, too. Now, I wonder if there's any game from childhood that helps explain why people choose to tempt fate. We certainly didn't play Russian roulette!
Leave a Reply.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.