Baby’s First GISHWHES
I haven’t had much more than a passing familiarity with the show Supernatural over the years. I knew it spanned a jaw-dropping number of seasons, I knew it had a rabidly loyal fanbase, and I’d even seen a dozen or so episodes over the years, albeit all out of order and out of context. But as the years went on, I began to hear more and more about the philanthropic work of one Misha Collins (Collins plays the angel Castiel on the show), specifically his brainchild: GISHWHES. No, don’t say gesundheit, what this is is the “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.” It is, well, exactly what it sounds like: a global hunt in which teams battle each other to engage their creativity, knocking out bizarre items on a list of hundreds, but more than that, spreading unbridled positivity to the communities around them.
Spreading joy and cheer isn’t exclusive to the holidays; no, GISHWHES takes place every August, and every August up until this year, I’d seen social media posts with mile-wide smiles as participants (whose entry fees even partially go to charity) created some wildly bizarre art in the name of The Hunt and shared it with the world. So last year, I decided to sign up for the mailing list (it seemed like a good idea at the time). The level of engagement with strangers was a little overwhelming to me, so I sat out, but at random intervals, I’d see emails from Misha pop up in my inbox. I didn’t pay them much mind, I may have even tried to unsubscribe a time or two, but for whatever reason, it didn’t stick. And as 2020 rolled along, and my apartment’s walls closed in just a bit more every day, I decided, with three hours left until the 2020 deadline, that this GISHWHES would be my first. And thanks to my wonderful new teammates on the Wayward Chupacabras, who could not have been more instantly welcoming, my life and my world for the next seven days will be positivity and creativity. And no matter what bizarre challenges lie ahead, no matter what unreasonable pain and suffering some of the items may bring, I’m already certain of what’s right there on the tin: that this truly is the greatest international scavenger hunt the world has ever seen.