When in Rome

There's a backyard game that is very popular and involves two boards with holes cut in them and bean bags. The game requires tossing the beanbags into the holes and is played much like horseshoes. When I was growing up in Northern Virginia that game was called Bean Bag Toss, but here in North Carolina people call it, um, Cornhole.

Now, I've heard the term cornhole before, but it was always in reference to a decidedly unpleasant act perpetrated on certain parts of the anatomy found on a person's posterior side where the sun don't shine. And of course those of us who are of a certain age remember Beavis & Butthead's Cornholio.

Until moving to North Carolina I'd never once heard Bean Bag Toss called Cornhole, but one day at a picnic a seemingly normal guy sidled up to me and asked me if I'd "like to Cornhole." I was slightly taken aback, to say the least, and before slugging the guy I decided it would be prudent to find out exactly what he meant so I replied by saying, "Huh?" He figured I didn't hear him, and luckily when he repeated himself he added the verb "play" to his sentence and pointed at what I thought of as a Bean Bag Toss game set up in the yard. Greatly relieved I proceeded to play a smashing game of Bean Ba-, uh, Cornhole.

Years later I was still uncomfortable calling the game Cornhole and at work I'd insisted on referring to the game as Bean Bag Toss since I thought other people might make the same mistake I had. Slowly it dawned on me that I was probably the only person in the Piedmont Triad who had a problem with "Cornhole" so I caved and started calling it that at work functions.

*Side note: You'd be amazed how often people play Cornhole at work functions.*

Unfortunately while I was attending a trade show in Boston earlier this summer I referred to a bean bag game in someone's booth as Cornhole; if I'd had a camera I could show you how people must look at flashers.

BTW, I think this confusion is quickly becoming a thing of the past, especially since there's now an American Cornhole Organization. Still if you're at all unsure of your audience I'd highly recommend the eminently more accurate moniker of Bean Bag Toss.

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