I Never: 2/9

Did you ever play a game called “Ten Fingers” or, “I Never … ” ?

If you’ve never heard of “I Never … ” or you don’t remember the rules, this is how I remember the game. A group of players gather in a circle and each hold up ten fingers—“Ten Fingers” was another name for this game that I’ve heard. Someone starts the game by saying out loud, “I never … ” and finishes the sentence, usually with something they’ve truly never done or had happen to them, since the goal of the game is to be the least experienced player. Those who cannot say the same for themselves, put down one finger.

Usually, there is laughter at the revelations at each turn, as players make the tacit admission by lowering one finger. Many of the “I never” statements would be about sex, but they didn’t have to be. You wanted to come up with something that you’d never done, but that you were fairly sure others had done.

Each player in turn says aloud an “I never” statement, without repeats (there’s no point), until the game ends, when the second-to-last person loses his tenth finger, and one person, the winner for having done the least, is left with fingers still showing.

There’s no story in saying what you’ve never done. Or is there? “I Never … ” is the theme for this call for submissions. Ideas for stories include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Have you ever been critical of someone because you learned a secret about them? What made you judge them?
  • Write a story about a time that you formed a new opinion of someone, based on what that person had experienced which you had not.
  • Has your judgment of a person (or class of people) based on something they have (or haven’t) done or felt changed? What did you discover that changed your opinion?
  • Have you ever lied about yourself to avoid judgment? Were you caught out? What happened?
  • How has your opinion changed about a person as you learn not only their secret, but that they kept this particular secret from you for as long as they did?
  • Has a game of “I Never … ” ever changed the way you think?

Completed submissions to this call are due by Saturday, February 9 by email to justin@goodmenproject.com. Accepted work will appear in an upcoming section on The Good Life, on The Good Men Project. Questions about this call, or our guidelines in general? Email Justin Cascio, Senior Editor of The Good Men Project, at justin@goodmenproject.com.


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