The Secret Sentences game

"A man's most open actions have a secret side to them"
— Joseph Conrad

By John-Paul Flintoff

I was in a hurry to take my daughter somewhere. And in the back of my mind I had a niggle: I didn’t believe she’d had “enough” breakfast. So I buttered some toast, and handed it to her on the way out of the door.

The thing is, I knew she didn’t really like buttered toast.

We walked a few yards down the street. Nancy nibbled on the toast. Then she said casually, “This butter smells like cheese.”

I replied, equally casually, “Well, I suppose that’s because butter and cheese are both dairy products.”

And we walked on a bit.

Then I realised what had just happened, and I laughed, and Nancy laughed too. I said, “I think we have been talking to each other with secret sentences in our head. I think maybe your secret sentence was, ‘I don’t want the toast.’”

Nancy grinned and nodded. “And I think your secret sentence was, ‘Eat the toast.’”

It felt great to get the sentences out there. And we were delighted to have invented what we believed to be a new game, Secret Sentences. I have since introduced the Secret Sentences game in a number of other places, and will write soon about what happened when I did that.

When have YOU been aware of secret sentences – either your own, or somebody else’s?

Posted: January 13, 2015