Pin the Tail on the Donkey is a game played by groups of children. It is common at birthday parties and other gatherings. A picture of a donkey with a missing tail is tacked to a wall within easy reach of children.
One at a time, each child is blindfolded and handed a paper "tail" with a push pin or thumbtack poked through it. The blindfolded child is then spun around until he or she is disoriented. The child gropes around and tries to pin the tail on the donkey. The player who pins their tail closest to the target, the donkey's rear, wins. The game, a group activity, is generally not competitive; "winning" is only of marginal importance.
The game is also used in child development research.
The game can also be played by teenagers and adults, especially if the "donkey" is replaced with depictions of something or someone else. As a drinking game, the person with the worst tail pinning is awarded one shot of a selected alcohol, to be determined by house rules or the loser in a friendly environment.
Idiomatically, the term can be used derisively for any assigned activity which is pointless or for which a person has been handicapped (blindfolded).
Famous quotes containing the words pin the, donkey, pin and/or tail:
“Maybe we were the blind mechanics of disaster, but you dont pin the guilt on the scientists that easily. You might as well pin it on M motherhood.... Every man who ever worked on this thing told you what would happen. The scientists signed petition after petition, but nobody listened. There was a choice. It was build the bombs and use them, or risk that the United States and the Soviet Union and the rest of us would find some way to go on living.”
—John Paxton (19111985)
“Heaven is the place where the donkey at last catches up with the carrot.”
“Suddenly we have a baby who poops and cries, and we are trying to calm, clean up, and pin things together all at once. Then as fast as we learn to copeso soonit is hard to recall why diapers ever seemed so important. The frontiers change, and now perhaps we have a teenager we cant reach.”
—Polly Berrien Berends (20th century)
“He sits at the table, head down, the young clear neck exposed,
watching the drugstore sign from the tail of his eye;”
—Muriel Rukeyser (19131980)