Spoofs & Satire

Mark Dion, Croquet Set, 2009, Courtesy Nathalie Karg/Cumulus-Studios

Oh, the Games Adults Play Now

Children play games for fun. Adults play games to crush and humiliate. An analysis of behavior on the grown-ups’ playground.

Setting: Several FINANCIAL REGULATORS and BANKERS are gathered around a parachute.

FINANCIAL REGULATOR: Now, everyone grab the edge of the parachute.

BANKER removes his jacket and grabs onto the edge of the rainbow parachute.

BANKER: Like this?

FINANCIAL REGULATOR: Exactly. Together, let’s lift it up very slowly.

BANKER: This is fun.

FINANCIAL REGULATOR: As long as everyone has a hold on the parachute, we can keep it in the air.

BANKER: What else can we do with it?

FINANCIAL REGULATOR: If we raise it higher, it goes over our heads like this.

BANKER removes his tie and lifts the parachute above his head.


FINANCIAL REGULATOR: And if we lower it quickly, we can feel the wind escape.

BANKER: I really like this. We have control over the parachute.

FINANCIAL REGULATOR: But only if we work together.

BANKER: What happens if we raise and lower it really, really, really fast like this?

BANKER’S cufflinks fling from his sleeves and hit the FINANCIAL REGULATOR in the face.


BANKER: Woo-hoo!

The parachute tears and BANKER starts to cry.

FINANCIAL REGULATOR: Look what you’ve done. Your carelessness put a hole in it.


* * *

Setting: A NEWS REPORTER and several POLITICAL CANDIDATES stand at opposite ends of a basketball court.

REPORTER: Green light!


REPORTER: Red light!

The POLITICAL CANDIDATES stop, some leaning to the right, others to the left.

REPORTER: You’re moving a little.

POLITICAL CANDIDATE No. 1: I am not. My stance is solid.

REPORTER: Fine. Green light!

The POLITICAL CANDIDATES run forward again.

REPORTER: Red light!

The POLITICAL CANDIDATES stop, some jostling slightly, others steadfast.

REPORTER: You’re out. You’re out. And, you’re out.

POLITICAL CANDIDATE No. 2: I’m not out. I haven’t moved.

REPORTER: I saw you quiver.

POLITICAL CANDIDATE No. 2: I’m allowed to quiver. I haven’t moved.

REPORTER: OK. Green light! Red light!

Political candidate No. 3 falls on the ground.

REPORTER: Now, you’re out.

POLITICAL CANDIDATE No. 3: That’s messed up. If you played fair, I would’ve won.

REPORTER: Well, I’ve also got these pictures of a certain candidate from a college Halloween party not too long ago. It looks like he’s wearing a—

POLITICAL CANDIDATE No. 3: I’m out! I’m out!


* * *

Setting: Five WRITERS and five MOVIE STUDIO EXECUTIVES face each other from the opposite sides of a gym. Five dodgeballs sit between them.

The WRITERS and MOVIE STUDIO EXECUTIVES run toward the dodgeballs.

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 1: These writers are going to lose.

WRITER No. 1: Let’s make those studio executives cry.

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 1 pummels WRITER No. 1 with a dodgeball.

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 1: You’re out!

WRITER No. 1 departs the playing area.

WRITER No. 2: Hit them when they get close to our side.

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 2: We’re not going to your side.

WRITER No. 2: You’ll regret that mid-season!

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 2: We don’t need you. We’ve got—

WRITER No. 2 hits STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 2 in the head.

WRITER No. 2: You’re out!

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 3: That was luck.

WRITER No. 2: Soon you’ll all be back on the sidelines.

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 3 throws a dodgeball. WRITER No. 2 catches it.

WRITER No. 2: I caught it! You’re out too!

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 3: That’s not in the rules.

WRITER No. 2: It is definitely in the rules.

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 3: Pull out the rule book. It’s up for interpretation.

WRITER No. 2: There’s no interpretation. I caught it. You’re out.

STUDIO EXECUTIVE No. 3: Fine, but you’re still not getting internet royalties.


* * *

Setting: DOCTORS and PATIENTS are paired together in a gym.

PATIENT: I hate square dancing.

DOCTOR: It’s OK. I’ve got years of experience so I’m very good at it. Follow my lead and you’ll be fine.

DOCTOR grabs PATIENT’S hands and swings her around.

PATIENT: This is just not what I want to do today.

DOCTOR: Move your leg to the right like this.

DOCTOR moves his leg swiftly.

PATIENT: Like this?

PATIENT moves her leg timidly.

DOCTOR: No, like this.

PATIENT: Oh, are you sure? I was watching a video on the internet about how to square dance. It said you should—

DOCTOR: So, you’re an expert, then?

PATIENT: Well, no, but I did some research ahead of time.

DOCTOR: On the internet.

PATIENT: Right. There’s a lot of valuable information on the internet. I know how to do the bowler, the archer, and the shopping cart.

DOCTOR: What are those?

PATIENT: Dance moves!

PATIENT lets go of the DOCTOR’S hands and prepares to show him how to do “the shopping cart.”

DOCTOR: This is embarrassing.

PATIENT: You just don’t know how to let yourself go.

DOCTOR looks upon PATIENT with scorn.

DOCTOR: Stop this amateur behavior. If you already know what to do, why am I here?


DOCTOR: If you’re going to be my partner, you have to dance how I want to dance.

PATIENT: But you don’t listen to me!

DOCTOR: You’re just not a good dancer, yet.

PATIENT walks away.

DOCTOR: What are you doing?

PATIENT: I’m going to find a second opinion.