Author Archives: Paige Zimmerman

Reese Witherspoon Pun

Context: This was not posed as a joke, but asked in the middle of a lull in conversation. The tone of the ‘joke’ is meant to be given seriously, as if recalling a news story they had seen earlier in the day.

M.Z. : Did you hear about that actress that got stabbed? Uhh, what’s her name? Reese something. From Legally Blonde, you know who I mean? Reese—
P.Z. : Witherspoon?
M.Z. : No, with a knife.

Thoughts: The first time that I heard this joke, I was caught off guard. While it is a cringe-worthy pun, I thought that this was one of the more creative jokes that I have been told.


Context: C.O. learned about this story on a ghost tour in Old Williamsburg, Virginia.

C.O. : And then the ghost story I heard when I was, oh gosh, eleven?
P.Z. : Eleven?
C.O. : And I was in Old Williamsburg in, just outside DC.
P.Z. : Okay
C.O. : On a trip with my parents and we went on a walking ghost tour of the town, uh, at night and one of the stories they told us outside the old inn was about two sisters who I guess back in the early eighteen hundreds were staying there and it was late at night they were asleep in their beds and one of the sisters woke up because she heard something outside the window
P.Z. : Okay
C.O. : That sounded like bootprints, or footprints. Or, I can’t, footprints. Boot noises. And she went to go look at the window, pulled back the curtains and there was nothing there so she went back to bed
P.Z. : Okay
C.O. : And then she heard it again so he went back to the window, opened the window, looked outside the window, still can’t see anything, asked your sister if she heard it, she didn’t, so both of them went back to bed. And then about five minutes later she heard the, the bootstomps outside her door. And there was light but she couldn’t see any shadows, so she opens the door and nobody’s out there. So now she’s freaking out. She doesn’t know where the noise is coming from, if someone’s messing with her so she goes back to bed. And then a little whiles later, maybe about an hour, she hears the bootprints or footprints even closer. In the room. So she throws the light on, there’s nobody standing there, so she goes to sleep again, turns the light out and like not 10 seconds later she starts feeling someone pushing up on the side of her bed for her feet
P.Z. : Ohh
C.O. : Slowly pushing up. And she feels like the indentation of someone sitting like right next to her head on her bed and she freaks out turns the light on and there’s nobody there
P.Z. : No, I hate that
C.O. : And that is the last time it happens that night and that’s the end of the story. And they called it Boots. And that scared the shit out of me as a kid, I didn’t sleep for two days
P.Z. : Oh yeah I can imagine that
C.O. : But the kicker is like a week later when we got home and I was in my bedroom, going to sleep. And I felt the same thing on my bed like at the foot of my bed as if someone had sat on the edge of it and I turned the light on and there was nothing there. My cat wasn’t in the room, my pillow didn’t fall off my bed, my parents and my brother were both asleep, and it was just, and my door was closed, and it was the weirdest feeling and it was just too much of a coincidence for me.
P.Z. : I hate that
C.O. : Yeah. So that’s my one ghost story.

Thoughts: This seemed a fairly standard ghost story or legend. I’ve heard many ghost stories that similarly focus on past tragedies, colonial-era ghosts, and unexplained footsteps. I thought that the truly interesting part of this story was the personal story. As a child, I also would be terrified by these sort of stories that people told me, so I understood the concept. I thought that it was interesting to hear the first hand experience of an otherwise general story.

Bloody Mary

Context: The popular legend was spun off into an outdoors urban legend and corresponding children’s game in New York.

A.F.: For us, it [Bloody Mary] was like a, we had two ways. It was a sleepover game. We had a flashlight at someone’s house, but the main way that we would do it, so I went to elementary school in a relatively, even though it’s suburban, it’s still an isolated area, so there were like paths, that went to like houses or roads. So there was this path that led from like our, because we had like a vaguely biggish field, that went from the path to a house on my road. Which again, we thought it was like the Bloody Mary path, and if you wandered too far then Bloody Mary would come and get you.
P.Z. : Okay, so it was outdoors?
A.F.: Um, yeah, ours was actually outdoors. Yes.

Thoughts: This was a much different version than the one I am familiar with. I’m not sure if this was primarily an East-Coast variation or specific to the respondent’s school. But usually, there were not these specific, wooded, secluded paths that made this version possible.

Cheese Touch

Context: The Cheese Touch game was popularized shortly after the publishing of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and corresponding movies. The Bone Touch was one group’s variation of this popular game, instead altered to fit a rural ranch setting, replacing the forbidden cheese with a cow hide being displayed as decor.

A.F. : Okay. The Cheese Touch is, so, um, typically if someone touched cheese in elementary school they would have the Cheese Touch and the only way to get rid of it is to pass it on to someone else.
P.Z. : Yeah, I know that we played that at my elementary school, but we had also, because we were in rural San Diego, we went to a ranch and there was a cow hide, and it still had a bone attached to it, so that started the Bone Touch, but yeah, the Cheese Touch.
A.F. : Yeah
P.Z. : That was really popular, what, late two-thousands? Early two-thousands?
A.F. : Late two-thousands, early twenty-tens.

Thoughts: I had read the books that this game was based on, so the game made perfect sense to me when it began gaining popularity. This seemed to be extremely popular for a number of years, and seemed just a variation on the ‘cooties’ game that children often also play.


Context: This is usually played as a theatre student or children’s game and is chanted while alternating between clapping your hands and slapping your thighs.

A.F. : It’s called Thumper, which—
P.Z. : Thumper?
A.F. : Which, it is played two ways, like the main two
P.Z. : Okay
A.F. : So it’s like “Thumper, thumper, this is how you play, one, two, three, four,” and then you can say like, say we can play the name way. So like “[name], [name], [collector’s name], [collector’s name], and then when it’s passed to you you have to say “[collector’s name], [collector’s name],” then someone else’s name and if you mess up then you’re out.
P.Z. : So if you mess up, as in..?
A.F. : Like, you’re off beat, or you forgot to say a name, so say if I say “[name], [name],” then I forget to say the next name then I’d be out
P.Z. : Okay, so you want to be the last person?
A.F. : Yeah. And then the other ways you can play are like, you’re an animal, or have a sign, like you can be like, a llama, a narwhal, a unicorn, like, you have to do your sign and then the other person’s animal. So that’s the two ways we typically would play.
P.Z. : And there’s two versions of that one?
A.F. : Yeah, one about names and—
P.Z. : And was that another camp game, or..?
A.F. : Thumper’s just a childhood game.
P.Z. : Childhood? Like elementary school?
A.F. : Yeah, I’d say elementary/middle school

Thoughts: I’ve heard of numerous theatre-style games from my friends who are acting majors or simply took an acting class. Some other examples include the game Zip Zap Zop. It seems the purpose of these games, traditionally played with children from elementary school to high school age, is to have players focus on memorizing multiple requirements and keeping track of a number of rules and names simultaneously.