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Posted by Big Boo on December 4th, 2008

There were some strange things we did as kids in the school playground to annoy each other, but boy were they effective.  Chinny Reckon is one such thing that I’ve covered before, but the subject of todays post is the highly entertaining idea behind Jinx!

The conditions to allow the rules of Jinx to be enforced were simple.  If two people said exactly the same thing at exactly the same time then the first to shout Jinx! could then prevent the other person from saying anything else from then on.

There were two ways in which the Jinx could be lifted.  One was when somebody said the name of the jinxed person (extra strict practitioners of this game insisted it was only the person who placed the Jinx who counted in this respect) and the other was for the jinxed person to pay a penalty if they did speak.  Since the penalty was usually something like a chinese burn or a punch in the arm you tended to wait until your name was said if you were unlucky enough to be silenced.

It’s surprising how widespread this game is.  The entry for Jinx on Wikipedia includes a description of the game, and it even appeared in an episode of The Simpsons.  I believe Bart gets jinxed by Lisa but when he speaks he is given a dead arm by Homer who says “You spoke while jinxed so I get to punch you in the arm”.

Not that Homer could necessarily be described as an adult, but it does make you wonder what a better place the world might be if we kept some of these playground traditions alive into adulthood.  Perhaps we’d all get along a bit better for fear of being openly ridiculed?  This idea is played out further in an advert for Coca Cola where two faces of US politics, Bill Frist and James Carville, end up spending an enjoyable day together after Frist jinxes Carville whilst talking on a news show.  It’s a slight play on the rules of Jinx (Carville doesn’t get punched when he speaks) but it’s an otherwise nice use of the game!

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