“What do you mean you’ve never heard of Buckaroo?”
My fiancée shrugged.
“You’ve got this donkey, right, and you have to stack things on top of his back…”
“We have Jenga?”
Buckaroo is not Jenga. It looks like this.
It’s the sort of game you play once or twice when you’re in your mid childhood and then never see it again. At least, that’s what it was to me. But the adverts were everywhere and they got into our collective unconscious. In the UK it became an idiom.
If you’re carrying too much you’re like Buckaroo.
But no, the Americans don’t have it. And this surprised me. After all, it looks like it was inspired by the Wild West. Although some of the boxes look like they’d now reach into cultural appropriation territory, what with the Mexicans in sombreros and ponchos running away from this mad raving donkey. Maybe a little culturally insensitive.
But yeah, just one of these things. Growing up in Scotland I suppose I developed a top-cold-wet bit of an island mentality. With the wind up there and the wide open spaces it was sometimes hard to believe there was a world outside Scotland. It was hard to imagine a world where the weather was pleasant. I could tell TV was fake because it was always sunny. I think this sort of thinking really comes quite often in young people all over the world. We’re not especially thoughtful creatures, in spite of the fact that we are the only creature we know with entire industries based on thinking. Thankfully, people gain a bit of empathy and a bit of world knowledge as they get a bit older, but it’s still possible to get shocked by small things like whether the woman you love and intend on starting a life with has heard of Buckaroo.
It’s just weird.
Like the way she says ‘erbs for herbs. Or oh-RE-gano instead of OreGano. Margarine for a Scot rhymes with submarine. For an American it rhymes with tin. It’s like we’re speaking a different language at times. I get it and I know how some of it happened but it’s just different.
Then again, there are probably hundreds of bits of American culture I don’t get. Perhaps they have a similar game to Buckaroo, or something totally different. I must confess, I only know about a lot of American things because I spend far too much time on the internet.
I kind of wonder what type of things I will learn as we go on together. What are those essential but homely bits of American culture that we don’t get shown on TV? The global convergence of our entertainment culture can only express so much. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of us as the Scottish and American bits of our identities overlap. I hope the kids get some Scottish vowel sounds. Those are beautiful. I think I’d prefer my fiancées tonality though as I sound a bit dour sometimes.
Our children will get raised by the good doctors, Who and Seuss. My fiancée may not like tea, but I suspect it’s hereditary so I’ll make sure to provide it as an option for the kids from a young age. We will drink tea and play Buckaroo, but then we’ll also find out what’s the American version of tea and what is the American version of Buckaroo. It’s only fair. Hopefully my fiancée will also manage to understand the complicated rules of Buckaroo without too much explaining.
Confident that his fiancée will not realise he is throwing shade, as she doesn’t know the first thing about Buckaroo, the writer of this piece has become very cocky in his ability to get away with it. So cocky in fact that he has hidden it in plain sight in italic print which draws the eye. If you or anyone else you know knows of the US version of Buckaroo, do get in touch