My favorite game when I was in first grade was "Heads Up, Seven Up." For those unfamiliar with this childhood delight, seven people were asked to come to the front of the classroom. Everyone else remained at their desks. Upon the command, "Heads down, thumbs up," from the otherwise evil teacher Mrs. Dale, the kids at their desks put their heads in their arms so that they could not see, but left their right hand in a "thumbs up" position. The seven students at the front of the room then fanned out across the classroom. Each of the seven had to tap the thumb of one seated student. The tappee then put his or her thumb down. Once a choice was made, the tapper returned to the front of the room. When all seven lined up against the blackboard, Mrs. Dale announced, "Heads up, thumbs down."

Next the seven seated students whose thumbs were tapped stood next to their desks. Each of the "chosen" had one chance to guess who tapped his or her thumb. If she/he guessed correctly, the tapper sat back at his/her desk and the tappee went to the front of the room.

I think I loved the game because it had an element of mystery. Would anyone tap my thumb? If so, who and why? I had to use psychology to pick people, both as a tappee and tapper. Did my best friend tap me because she liked me, or was it the gross boy in class I avoided who picked me because he never thought I would guess him? (Once in a while, the element of suspense was removed when I noticed the shoes of the tapper because I could see the floor out of the corner of my eye.) Should I tap my best friend or the gross boy when I was one of the seven tappers? How could I stand when tapping someone so that he or she, if cheating, did not see my feet? The possibilities were endless! Such excitement!

Do kids still play Heads Up, Seven Up in school these days? If not, it would be such a shame. Sure it is simple and has no educational value whatsoever and can also lead to people feeling left out if they are never picked, but my fondness for it has diminished no less in 27 years. I think that says a lot.