Game

European Rat Shit

Informant is sixteen years old.  He is a high school student and an athlete.  It is likely that this name for an otherwise fairly simple and low-stakes card game is an attempt by the young players to feel tough and cool, and to identify with a more sophisticated group by using language they perceive as being more adult.  The interviewer was unable to find any evidence of a game by this name, but the informant swears that most people his age know about it, or at least boys on sports teams, as he has played it with kids from other football teams, who recognized the name immediately.

Interviewer: Do you know any games, like something your friends taught you?

Informant: Well, there’s European Rat Shit.

Interviewer: What’s that?

Informant: It’s a card game, you play with, like, a normal deck, no jokers.  It’s similar to Slap Jack, which is where you each put a card down and you slap it when a Jack comes up and you get all the cards in the piles and the object is to get all the cards. But in European Rat Shit, each face card, ah, you, the other person—each face card you put down, the other person has to but down a certain amount of other cards and if there’s a sandwich, which would be one card, a different card, and the same card as the first card, then you slap it and you get the hand that’s down, or if there’s a double, same thing: same card on top of each other and you slap it the whole hand is yours.

Interviewer: Why’s it called that?

Informant: That’s a good question. Can I google it? There’s a lot of names for it that I know. European War, um, hold on. ERS, which is just, like, abbreviation, I guess. Three. I know three names. Counting European Rat Shit.

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