WORDS BY SHAUN TREAT, IMAGES BY WESLEY KIRK
Cards Against Humanity touts itself as a game for terrible people, with plenty of bawdy yet laugh-inducing questions and answers sure to embarrass friends or family. But what happens when Denton faces and places get thrown into the mix? Sunny Marie Purdin is a UNT alum and self-professed “professional nerd” who has posted to her Etsy shop “DENTON LOVES PROFANITY: A PARODY EXPANSION PACK FOR CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY,” which quickly sold out then broke the internet as the site was endlessly shared across social media. Seriously, the listing itself is a joy to read!
We had a chance to sit down with this We Denton Doer who has crafted a custom expansion pack specifically for those of us who love the Little D. The amazing Wesley Kirk of People of Denton braved the downpour to take a few lovely shots as we asked this clever creator a few probing questions of our own.
We Denton Do It: So let's first establish some nerd credentials. What are some of your favorite geeky things?
Sunny Purdin: Oh good grief… How long have you got? [Laughs] Well, as a librarian obviously I am a professional nerd and book jockey. I sometimes tell people I’m the youngest old person they’ll ever meet because I’m in a garden club and enjoy knitting. But even back in high school, I was wearing X-Files tshirts and into all kinds of nerd stuff, and that was LONG before it was cool like now! [Laughs] I’m also way dorky about obscure maps and even animatronics… Y’know, like the Chuck E. Cheese robots? I wrote an article for Boing Boing, actually, about these animatronic enthusiasts who restore and repurpose the dang things that led to a full-blown documentary. So yeah, the rabbit hole down into my depths of geekdom would be a long trip. [Giggles] I’ve been into Geek Rock since the 90s. That should settle any dispute.
Your "Denton Loves Profanity" idea is a stroke of genius, but what inspired you to tackle The Little D?
It was an idea that occurred when drinking with friends, and I make the cards while drinking for a game best played when drinking with friends… So maybe it was just serendipity? [Laughs] But then I was like “Oh crap, I better do this before someone else does!” So I just started compiling a Google doc with my ideas for the Black Question Cards and the White Answers Cards, got some input from friends, and now here we are. I just make it a point to pull in references to specifically Denton things, people or places or events, that are maybe obscure to some or legend to others. It’s not as easy as it seems to come up with good questions and dirty answers when its people you know, I can tell you that.
Are there any of your cards that you're particularly fond of, proud about, or maybe still makes you giggle every time?
Oh gosh… Yeah, there are several. But there is also one really horrible terrible card that I’m actually almost ashamed of. I’m not gonna out it, I’ll just let folks guess. It was a drunk answer that, after I looked at it again the next day, I thought “Wow, that is maybe too wrong.” Or almost too wrong? That’s the trick of it, it references an actual thing that happened here in Denton, so I dunno. The ones that I like most were shared on my Etsy shop because they can lead to some really hilarious contrasts. I just hope the pack overall makes people laugh and they enjoy it.
It’s definitely awesome, what I’ve seen of it! Did you beta test it over brewskis?
Oh yeah, I had friends over for many a cut-&-laminate party. [Laughs] At first we just played with the Denton cards but it was a little clunky. But when we added them in with the Bigger Blacker Box and all the CAH cards, though, then it was a really fun mix. I worked hard to bring in old school Denton days with more recent references, so its pretty varied. One friend was like “What is a Fishboy?” I was like “WHAT? No way, you gotta Google that s#!t, dude!” [Laughs] We Denton Do It gets a shout-out, BTW, as do some of my friends because it makes our games more hilarious.
I saw on the r/Denton Reddit that you actually contacted the Cards Against Humanity folks?
Oh yeah, I went through the ‘contact us’ on their website and kinda explained what I was up to, so they sent me a document with all kinds of guidelines and rules. I mean, they run it under a Creative Commons license but the game is a money machine now so you can’t mess with it too much. The folks at CAH were perfectly nice but made it really clear that my cards need to look different. They told me if someone could squint and confuse my card with theirs, then it could get no bueno muy rápido. And I’m not about that lawyering up life. But heck, not much chance of that when my font is different and my hand-cut cards are sometimes laminated crooked or beer stained. [Laughs] But mostly they were really encouraging.
What's the response been like on your Etsy shop? And from locals you've shared this with?
It has been nuts. I made 5 sets of cards one weekend thinking maybe a few of my idiot friends might actually buy them, but those sold out in barely 5 hours. Since I had posted it through my Etsy shop, where I make lots of different stuff, then the email inquiries started coming in. Friends started posting links to where it was getting shared in Reddit and then passed around social media. Now my in-box is full of “When will you have more for me to buy?” And now here we are for an interview? [Laughs] No its been legit bonkers, I was really surprised. I can’t keep up right now, I have a job, oh crap! But now I guess we know the prototype has some play.
A horrible person, maybe… but “naughty” just feels a bit weird?
So what's ‘in the cards’ for this project going forward into the future? When can I buy a set of my own?
Ha Ha, I see what you did there. Did Wesley just groan and roll his eyes? [He did] Well, I’m working on ideas for more Denton expansions, like Retro Denton 60s-70s or some Denton Hipsters vs Millenials edition. Tim at More Fun Comics & Games has an order in for his store and he’s been really encouraging, so we are kicking around ideas for production and distribution or whatnot. There will definitely be more, sooner than later!
Any plans to crowd-source potential future expansions? I would like to suggest "A gun pried from the cold, dead hands of John B. Denton" and "Richard Haskin's tiny sweat-drenched G-string"...
Ooooo, those ain’t bad! Y’know, this is exactly why I love Denton and the community here, everyone is just so encouraging and all about it. When I mentioned this project to a Dallas friend, she just kinda shrugged like “Why?” Totally didn’t get it.
We could just open up the comments section for pitches on Black cards and White cards, crowdsource a WDDI expansion!
Go for it, but I told you, its tougher than it looks.
Also, one person’s hurt feelings is another person’s defamation lawsuit, I guess?
Yep. The CAH folks had a couple crazy stories on that very thing.
Okay, real talk since CAH is a game explicitly for terrible people and your expansion mentions profanity: What are some of your favorite Denton-specific swears or cusses?
University Drive. No, seriously, just contemplating having to drive on University is profane. Scott Brown Properties. Fracking-Adjacent Playground. The comments section of the DRC. Yeah, that’s a pretty solid start.
We definitely get that. Thanks, Sunny!
Shaun Treat is a former professor at the University of North Texas and founder of the Denton Haunts historical ghost tour. Doc has written about numerous local places and personalities at his Denton Haunts blog, and is forever indebted to the great work of our local keepers of history like Mike Cochran and Laura Douglas at the Emily Fowler Library for their tireless work in helping preserve Denton’s intriguing past. Be sure to check out our local museums curated by the fine folks at the Denton County Office of History & Culture, and follow @Dentonaut on Twitter for local happenings.