The Full Cane Caldo

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am an extrovert and over the past month I’ve been able to meet up with four of the authors and commenters[1] that travel in the same blogging circles. This brings my total face-to-face encounters to seven, and I am very glad to report that I enjoyed them all, and I look forward to seeing them all again, and to meeting more people as they allow.

Of these recent conversations, one small off-hand comment by me during dinner and the reply to it lingered more than the others; especially in light of some recent kerfuffles. I had said off-handedly, in the course of a larger point, “I don’t want people to like Cane Caldo.” to which it was replied, “Hmm, interesting.”

I didn’t mean it is my preference for others to dislike my online personae, but that I am very conscious of the fact that the Internet is an unavoidable world of masks. We may shout solidarity or whisper truths about ourselves to one another, but we should not fall in love with the masks. That goes double for oneself. All of which brings up the question of exactly how masked am I?

Good question. I’m probably the last person who should try to answer it, but I can relate a story.

Last year a friend of mine threw a party. All of us have been close since high school, and so we happily attended and enjoyed the chance to reconnect while our wives giggled and our children played. All of us men smoke, and so we spent most of the time on the back porch smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, poking fun at each other and laughing.

The kids–about ten of them–were outside with us. There was a trampoline. They jumped and tussled and laughed and cried and got over it when we made sure they weren’t injured and told them to get over it. Sometimes a mom would come out to furrow her brow and find out what was going on. And we’d laugh and tell her to get over it, too, and so they all got over everything and the kids would go back to play and the wives would go back to their fun.

The sun was on the horizon and and we had just assuaged hurt feelings and staved off bitterness. There were no women in earshot, and the children were in oblivious play. My friend, a military vet for almost two decades said, suddenly serious, “I just want to thank you guys for showing me how to be a man.” We protested, but he wouldn’t have it. He talked about growing up without a father, and–a year younger than us–about how he took to us as older brothers. And we are brothers, and we had been young together.

Because the laughter of men is catnip to women, they would occasionally come outside and hang around; just being pretty and waiting for an entrance to the conversation. Then, after a bit, they’d go back inside and rejoin the wives. They wanted to belong to the laughing men, and that is good because they do. But bubbling up from under that goodness was something else, and that was the desire of our wives to be the center of the laughing men. That is not good, as you’ll see.

It was dark, and some had drank a bit too much beer. We were still on the back porch, but the kids had moved inside to the toys, and the wives had come outside to us. One man’s wife could no longer withstand the desire to be the center of our attentions, and so it happened. She went inside and came back with a box. She said, “You guys are going to love this game.”

Everyone but my wife and I knew what it was, and the rest of them smirked and giggled nervously. I asked, “What’s it called?”

She beamed. “Card’s Against Humanity. It’s a party game with topics that are just stupid, or kinda mean, or kinda gross, or whatever.”

“Gotcha. That doesn’t sound like a good idea.”

“No, it’s really fun.”

“Ok. It still sounds like a bad idea. It sounds like the game is to make everyone feel awkward.”

Then, to prove it was fun, she read off one of the Cards Against Humanity in front of me, my wife, my friends, their wives, and even my adult daughter. I don’t remember what she said except that it had the word “cum” in it. My wife and daughter looked at the ground and immediately began for the safety of house.

“That’s enough.”, I barked.

Her grin faded and she began to protest. “No, it’s just funny–“

“It’s not funny. It’s embarrassing. If you want things to get awkward, then I can make it awkward.”

Silence. She bowed her head, slipped the card back into the case, and went inside. Our host pulled me aside and said, “Man, I want to apologize. I knew what it was and I should have said no. I guess I just…” He trailed off. He didn’t know what to do because it wasn’t his wife.

“It’s over now. I know that everywhere else she goes people would love her for bringing up that game; even other Christians. They don’t think it’s a big deal, and so she’s been tricked into thinking it’s acceptable because it’s “just a game”. She had no idea I’d have that reaction. I’m not mad at her. It just needed to stop.”

“Well, I’m sorry anyways. I’m glad you said something, and I wish I had. I shouldn’t allow it around my family, either.”

“Bro, we’re all learning.”

A few minutes later the woman came back out. She said she was apologizing to my wife, and then she realized that she should be apologizing to me; which she did and I forgave her. Her instincts to apologize to my wife were correct, though. I treasure my wife and kids, and her offense wasn’t against me but against my family, by extension my brothers, and by further extension my brothers’ families. If it had been just us guys when she pulled that stunt, I would only have looked at her husband with a concerned scowl and then walked off.

By the way, he was silent the whole episode.

As far as I know, everyone left on good terms. Still, it would have been much more pleasant for me and probably everyone else if that game had never come up. Then again, it wasn’t really the game’s fault, either.


(Author’s Note: Title taken from here.)

[1] They can choose whether or not they want to accept the infamy.

21 thoughts on “The Full Cane Caldo

  1. Been playing a lot of poker recently. Social situations like this remind me of a garbage flop in Holdem where everyone missed. The pot just goes to whoever bets first usually.

    When a “confusing” topic comes up, whoever barks first and loudest defines how the group feels about it–as long as he’s legitimately part of the group.

    I’ve played the game, and it’s fun, but it’s not good fun. Apples to apples is better b/c it’s more constrained. Also I felt weird about playing it with girls present. Mentally, they all went down a bit in attractiveness by playing with me. The guys I didn’t care about for some reason though. I don’t know.

  2. Because the laughter of men is catnip to women, they would occasionally come outside and hang around…One man’s wife could no longer withstand the desire to be the center of our attentions

    See Gamer Maxim: “Women want to be liked and admired, to have men’s attention, and to be desired by attractive men.

  3. It was dark, and some had drank a bit too much beer. We were still on the back porch, but the kids had moved inside to the toys, and the wives had come outside to us.

    Too much beer and kids around. Not a good combo. Would it have been awkward without your kid? In some social circles, this stuff is SOP. Depends on the social circle.

    Probably the man’s wife wanted to be desired by attractive men–for validation and maybe she was in estrus.

  4. I figure you are about as “masked” as any of us.

    Even I, blogging in the open do so.

    As one of those 7, allow me to say this:

    You were much more agreeable in person. Friendly, engaging, no bizarre facial tics and recently showered.

    I think people would be pleasantly surprised.

  5. I heard about the game, it sounded fun, but I immediately knew it would be definitely inappropriate to play with my christian friends and thought that I could play it with some atheist friends. Your post made me see I was hypocrite – if it’s not ok to play with fellow Christians why should it be ok to play with anyone else? Am I somehow better than brothers and sisters in Christ so that unlike them it wouldn’t affect me in any way?

  6. @asdg

    Would it have been awkward without your kid?

    Sure. That’s not mixed company talk. Even if my wife hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have participated.

    In some social circles, this stuff is SOP. Depends on the social circle.

    I break from those circles. And if I did not, it would be because I had decided that the time was right to sin, and all my prohibitions would have gone out the window.


    Bro, we’re all learning.

  7. Excellent! That right there…is a thing of beauty.

    I am all admiration, and I will likely study this exchange until I have internalized it to the point of being able to adapt it to whatever situation. One longs to see and learn from those who DO.

    It is therefore in the greatest humility and with all respect to the parties that I offer that I can think of only one way that the interchange might have been improved, and that is to take an approach combining “teach a man to fish” and “who bitch dis is”:

    Mrs. Padawan: Hey boys, look at me! I have an embarrassing game with words like “cum” and stuff!

    Cane [intense stare]: Padawan, put a stop to this.

    Mrs. Padawan: It’s only a game!

    Cane: Padawan, tell her to can it! [continues to exhort Padawan, or takes the reins as necessary.]


    Would have liked to be a fly on the wall at that meeting of the four Winds. uh, Minds.

  8. Like is so easy as to be practically worthless, though it starts to cost pieces of your soul.
    Respect is dearly earned, but pays the greatest dividends.

  9. Full facial tics, one eye towards London, the other towards Tokyo, Never knew if was being looked at.

    On Tuesdays its beef tallow, not real soap.

    Cane is a scary dude. I always travel with a selection of board games. Doesn’t everyone? Good I left them in the car

  10. I had heard about this, mostly because Amazon recommended it several times. I had heard a bit about it and it did not seem to be what I would want in my very extensive game collection at all. I have a few things some Christians might throw a fit over, but very few and that stuff is mostly like a Tolkien-ish background, not crass.

    My boss and a few other IT folks were talking about the cards the other day and I thanked them for confirming it would not be something I would want. Out IT and InfoSec group is definitely not PC, but I see no reason to go to things like this either, though I see why some are drawn to it. I think we have squelched so much natural humor that many only have crass humor now.

  11. You’re a good man to have a beer and talk with. There are very few of those these days.

    I find it amusing that the topic of travel came up together with a post on what I find most admirable – your ability to defend your family against immorality. I disagree sometimes with how or when, but you really opened my eyes to how vigilant a man should be about what is allowed to influence those in his care, and how to guide those influences.

  12. I was one. He had also showered for me. It makes me feel special.

    I seem to remember you saying something like this…and I am prone to hrmms…but then that’s usually me thinking. I have, on multiple occasions, picked up a conversation after months have lapsed as I’ve thought about whatever the topic at hand _was_.

    As to the story, probably a good call. It’s easy to slip into vice from entertainment. And “Cards Against Humanity”, which I’ve never played and made clear I don’t want to see in my house with our gaming group, seems to have no redeeming virtue.

  13. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2015/10/25) | The Reactivity Place

  14. It’s a crass word to be sure. In an ideal world, the “Against Humanity” game would actually be against the idea of Humanity being a code word for the active mono-racial, mono-culturisation of nationalities, especially Western nationalities. In practice, Humanity means just that most often, at least for academics. Perhaps that’s only the Ethno-Nationalist side of me, though…

    Best regards,


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