By Tim Walsh
I don't know why the nut of an oak tree isn't called an oaknut, but I'm glad, in weird way, that it's called an acorn.
In 1994 I stumbled upon a game idea while helping my girlfriend, a teacher, in her 3rd grade classroom. I failed miserably at the task I was given, which was to keep a group of kids quiet while she tested some other kids at the front of the room. Why these five rambunctious 8-year olds were not listening to me, I do not know. When they protested the third story I attempted to read to them, I pulled a children’s dictionary off the shelf in desperation, and turned to the first page. “The nut of an oak tree,” I read softly, aloud.
One of the kids said, "What?" while another, in a matter-of-fact way said, “That’s an oaknut.”
“Actually, it’s called an acorn,” I explained. “But that’s funny.”
Turning to the next page, I read, “The first meal of the day.”
Another kid blurted out, “Waffles!”
“I was looking for breakfast,” I said, holding back laughter.
I opened to a random page in the middle of the book: "The hair on a man's..."
"Beard!" one kid yelled,
"Toupee!" another one blurted.
I finished reading the definition, "...on a man's upper lip."
And it continued from there, through many definitions and many races to see who could blurt out the word being described first. The kids were having a blast, building their vocabulary, improving their listening skills and more. I knew I had discovered a great game. Within a week, I had a prototype. I called it DEFUNITIONS. My girlfriend, in a moment of great insight, said. “You can’t misspell the title of a word game.” Teachers. Always so right.
I decided to change the name to BLURT! The rest, as they say, is history. Our little game was eventually licensed to Educational Insights and went on to sell over 1,250,000 copies and continues to be a classroom staple across the US.
In December of 2019, we celebrate the 25th Annversary of BLURT! We can't reveal all that's being planned just yet, but stay tuned for a celebration.
It's funny how time changes things. Those rambunctious 8-year olds are now 33-year olds, and I hope, living great lives with kids of their own. And my girlfriend? Well she's still always so right... and she's also my wife. : o