Imagine that you agreed, more than a month ago, to play a game that involved taping three large balloons to your back and running around trying to snatch balloons from other people while preventing yours from being snatched. (If this sounds like Mario Kart Balloon Battle, you’re right. Our child independently invented a live version of it.) Your child has keenly anticipated this event, scheduling it with participating family members and counting down the days until this thrilling activity occurs.

Yes, you look rather silly, but your kid is really looking forward to it. Anyway, you’re playing in the back yard — who’s going to see you? In a decade of home ownership, you’ve hardly even seen your backyard neighbors. What’re the odds they’ll be out in their back yards in the cold evening as the sun sets, and that they’ll look over their fence into your yard? Practically zero, right?

WRONG. You failed to account for 2020!

In this improbable year, you and the four other members of your family who have three large, polka-dotted, brightly colored balloons taped to your backs troop into the yard to the astonished gaze of your two backyard neighbors, who are shooting the breeze while standing on ladders? tree stumps? –tall things, anyway, that raise their heads and shoulders above the fence level. With, of course, a clear view of your completely barren and non-private yard.

But your kid has waited for over a month to play this game. There’s no way you’re backing out now. And that is how you end up dashing around the back yard, balloons floating out behind you, trying to snatch the balloons from the backs of other family members, for the unanticipated amusement of your neighbors. Who, presumably, went and told this story to their families: “You won’t believe what those crazy people in back of us were doing this evening…”

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