I don’t remember who first taught me about gourding, but I do know this much: If you want a game that gets you in the mood for decorative-gourd season, well, this is it, people.
The gist: Hide a gourd someplace, wait for your friend to find it, and then—at the moment of discovery—get up in their face with some variation of, “Man, you just got gourded.”
A flash of bright orange when you unzip your bag—you, my friend, have been gourded. What’s that weird lump under your pillow? Wouldn’t you know, gourded again. Sit down at your desk chair without looking, only to screech and leap back up? Ouch. Mistake. And also, gourded. It’s like that Smirnoff Ice game the kids were so crazy about a few years ago, but with fewer nasty beverages and more appreciation for the bounty of autumn.
But none of this seasonal delight would have been possible if not for the ingenuity of our ancestors, who domesticated gourds and, in the process, saved them from likely extinction. In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of biologists argued that most members of the plant genus Cucurbita—a group that includes gourds, pumpkins, and squashes—has survived the past several millennia only because of human intervention.