On a day that was no day in particular, besides a Wednesday, I received an excited, verging on frantic, call from my friend Nadja.

“Hey, do you want to go see Kristyn and Dustin renew their vows wearing nothing but cutlery?”

“What? Yes. What?”

“These are all things that are happening right now.”

“When?”  I was beat or two out of sync in the conversation, thrown off by the general context.  

“Now.  In thirty minutes. I’m going over right now to help her get in her ‘gown’.”  

What I didn’t realizing at the time was that I was being ushered into the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES).  No. This is not a hyperbolic acronym that I created. Though, kudos to you for recognizing that as something I would definitely do.  It’s better.  It’s an actual thing.  What I became witness to was item number 31 on a two hundred item list of incredible deeds (many with a charitable angle) and projects (mostly including a heavy arts and crafts component) to be accomplished over the course of one week.  

Number 31:  ”Get married.  If you’re married, renew your vows.  For this ceremony the couple must be adorned in the seasons hottest, most stunning and elegant kitchenware…make sure your event is well attended…The officiant must be a ship’s captain.”  Kristyn and Dustin rose to the challenge with all the enthusiasm that wedded bliss should conjure. By standers (and their pets) joined in the merriment. The air buzzed with enthusiasm and the vibrations were contagious.  Even though half the people in attendance had no idea what or why this was happening; they just wanted to be apart of it.  That’s part of the grand scheme of GISHWHES.  

GISHWHES describes itself as

a “game” where we present the players from all over the planet a long list of items to accomplish. Then people collectively in their respective teams divvy up and pursue these items, making incredible crazy art, performing wild things in public, and partaking in heart-warming community service projects. They receive “points” for every item they accomplish.”

However, the list doesn’t limit itself to ridiculous high jinx, but also opens itself to make a difference in someone’s day or entire life.  A couple of my favorites from this year’s list included getting CPR certified and another was to do an activity in remembrance of a loved one that has passed or do an activity with a loved that you’ve been meaning to do, but keep postponing.   GISHWHES goes on to say: 

“Many of the participants claimed it was a life-changing experience that either pulled them out of their shell and completely changed their lives, or drove them insane.

Previous years’ items have ranged from “random kindness items” like “Take a picture of you hugging a War Veteran” or “…giving coats to a homeless shelter” to sublime items like “Take a picture of a stormtrooper cleaning a pool next to a sunbather” or “create a 2-foot tall seagull made entirely from sanitary napkins.” Whichever team receives the most points by scavenging the most items (quality counts!), will win an all-expense-paid trip to somewhere incredible.”

It’s so easy to get stuck in the monotony of life – the daily routine.  GISHWHES shakes it all up and just for the hell of it, because we occasionally need to forget responsibility and deadlines and embrace the five year-old that’s still there… if we’ll only let him/her come out play.  I think one participant put it best when she said,

GISHWHES reawakened the part of me that finger painted as a child and laughed at my messes. I cannot remember the last time I felt this inspired and joyful.” -Jennifer Archer