28 November 2007

About as stable as Audrey Hepburn's head in a helicopter

I was chatting last night with my fairy blogmother (ret.), and somehow the subject of the Topsy Tipping League™ came up. I can't remember how, though I have an inkling that it may have been in connection with the toppling tendencies of myotonic goats.

Anyway, to explain, said fairy blogmother, despite being built on a decidedly dainty scale, appears to have an absurdly high centre of gravity. So high, in fact, that it takes but the merest of nudges to send an offguard Topsy flying into a nearby hedge. Having discovered this some years ago, Technically Rachel indulged this penchant to such a degree that that others wished to join in, and demanded a system for keeping score. Thus it was that the Topsy Tipping League™ was born. In the interests of keeping the game alive, not to mention comedy at the expense of our precarious friend, I'm sure the Technical One won't mind me quoting her at great length.

Topsy Tipping League™
2 points for a general nudge and small stumble
4 points for a significant stumble
6 points for complete loss of footing across the pavement with general arm flailing and little yap for help

Add 1 extra point to your score if:
  • your attempt provokes a 'tut' or a swear word
  • your attempt induces high-pitched and general "I'm so abused!" mutterings
  • she gets really mad and goes all pink and yells "What is your problem!"
Minus 1 point from your score if:
  • she spots you coming and you miss her - you'll look stupid, and she'll be smug
  • she's wearing high heels - it's just too easy
  • she's pissed - once more, too easy
  • she falls right over - whilst we at Topsy Tipping™ agree this would be highly amusing, the Topsy is an endangered species and shouldn't be too abused (but if a bush breaks her fall, you can have your point back!)
  • You may only partake in one "Topsy Tipping" a day
  • The Topsy's safety must be considered at all times - as should the comedy of the moment
  • Be gentle - she topples REALLY easily
  • Players partake in this league at their own risk - the Topsy is a little blonde species and is liable to small explosions. The proprieters accept no responsibility for injury or damage caused at the hands of an angered Topsy.
At the end of the league, ratios will be calculated for differences in height and weight from the Topsy, as will an average of time spent with the Topsy.

All interested members please register on the talk back

Happy Tipping from the Topsy Tipping League™

No doubt you'll be reading this with a grin, wondering which badly balanced buddies of your own can be enlisted - almost certainly against their will - in such hilarity.* You'll find it great fun, though your beleaguered friend might not, and a game which, while designed for two players - a Topsy and a Tipper - has permutations of immense potential when played in groups, as an instant debate on the Founder's site made clear:

If two or more Topsy Tippers are walking with it, what is the procedure if one player attempts to Tip the Topsy and another moves in from the opposite side to bolster the Topsy, effectively "blocking" the attempted Tip? That is to say, are points awarded for defensive moves that thwart other players, denying them points?

TTL-005: I think that the second player would be doing themselves a favour by not allowing the first tipper to have a clean shot at the tip, therefore it would act as a basic defence and thus any advantage gained would simply be that of not having conceded a point to another player.

TTL-001: TTL-005 is right, the benefit comes from denying another player their points.

TTL-003: But what if the Topsy is merely starting the stumble - a basic 2 points for tipper number one - when tipper number two, rather than bolstering the Topsy, adds momentum and positively a change of angle, therefore changing a basic 2 point stumble into a maximum 6 point fall, possibly with up to 3 bonus points? How would those 6 or even 9 points be divided?

TTL-001: I think tipper no. 2 would be allowed the extra 4 points for showing such timely skill - any further points would be split equally. If it is a planned team effort, all points should be split equally. I hope this has answered your question.

Perhaps the oddest aspect of all this is that some years ago at a wedding a friend of mine marvelled at the Topsy's ability to sashay across gravel and rough grass in high heels while carrying several drinks and without spilling a drop. 'Four inch heels off-road?' he exclaimed, 'Keep her!'

Little did he know that it would have taken but the slightest breeze to send her flying.
* Unless, that is, you're frowning and thinking this is rather a contrived way to justify pushing someone into a hedge.


Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

May one of us ignorant American youth ask what a topsy is?

The Thirsty Gargoyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Thirsty Gargoyle said...


I think originally it was just a nickname, though whether the nickname predates or postdates the game I don't know. It may well be linked with the term 'topsy turvy' and, I suspect, 'topple'.

Still, in the interests of expansion of the game beyond these islands, and ultimately with a view to it becoming an Olympic activity, I'll try for a definition.

Topsy n. : 1 a diminutive young lady, prone to stumbling when lightly pushed. 2 the passive participant in games of Topsy Tipping
- ORIGIN C16: a jingle feat. term 'topsy turvy', appar. based on TOP and obs. terve 'overturn'

See also Topsy, a character in Harriet Beechet Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Topsy, a circus elephant on Coney Island which killed three people and was eventually electrocuted to death by Thomas Edison's people in 1903, which you can watch here.

* Only two ho's as it's Advent. There'll be three at Christmas.

'The Tipped' said...

Topsy is actually a nickname that my mother called me when I was a young child - named after the Topsy and Tim books. I foolishly let this information slip one evening whilst in the company of the 'would be tippers'. Something that I later regretted.

Technically Rachel said...

Hee hee - I count this as one of the best things I've ever written!