High School Memory of Playing Hangman

I was scrolling through my Youtube playlist today, and I stopped at “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry. While it’s not quite summertime, I decided to watch it anyway.

It’s quite a catchy tune, and Mungo Jerry’s look is quite unique.

While I was watching the video, it brought back a high school memory from over 40 years ago.

There was a bunch of us hanging out before school started for the day, and someone suggested we play hangman (if you are thinking, “I bet none of these guys were on the football team”, you would be correct). To narrow down the list of possible words or phrases to be guessed, we decided to limit the choices for the game to musical artists.

I knew that my knowledge of music was much less than anyone else playing the game (I still thought Bobby Sherman, Tony Orlando, and the Archies were cool). For example, little did I know that there was a guy named Bruce Springsteen who would soon take the world by storm, but my sense was that all these other guys knew stuff like that. (Fun fact – he almost played at our high school, but we didn’t sell enough tickets, which were $5).

So if I were to have any chance of not embarrassing myself, I would have to rely on cleverness/shady tactics rather than my command of the world of music.

The game started, and as I expected, I was not much help trying to guess who some of the musical artists were.

When it finally was my turn to pick an artist,  as you may have guessed, I used Mungo Jerry. As I seem to recall, no one was able to guess it, and a couple of the guys thought it was a pretty cheap gimmick using such a name.

Anyway, the game continued, and my limited knowledge became even more apparent.

But when it came to be my turn again, I was ready to show everyone that I could stump them just as easily as they could stump me.

Here’s the set-up:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _      _ _

As usual, people start with vowels, and I’m sure at one point, my drawing looked like this:

_ _ A _ _ I _ _        I _

They may have been able to get a few more letters, but eventually they ran out of guesses by the time they had hung themselves.

At that point I gleefully revealed all the letters:


A good deal of yelling and complaining and name calling then ensued, along with a couple of dead arms for added effect. I think I also remember someone telling me to go back to listening to the Monkees, which would have been fine with me.

Obviously, if I still remember this event 40 years later, it must have held some sort of significance for me. I’m not really sure what that would be, except perhaps as a way of remembering a rare day when I outsmarted someone in a battle of musicology.

As well as a way of remembering that I was a nerd, long before it became fashionable.

And if you’ve never heard of the Classics IV, here is one of their hits:

And remember, even if you don’t like their music, it’s a killer clue for the next time you play Hangman.