He got game

I am sorry that I never learned to speak Chinese.

There are always some tell tale signs that the weekend is winding down. There is animation on the Fox Network. The dishes has been washed and put away, not that this was especially difficult considering that lunch was take-out and dinner consisted of PB&J.( Heck it was a day of rest for the resident cook too). The last bits of remaining homework are completed and the backpacks are all ready for Monday morning. The next week’s clothes are laid out and ironed. And the self delusion lies, about the “projects” we are going to tackle “next weekend” and how we are going to have to get to church next Sunday, are in the air. Inevitably, with all this completed, attention turns to a way to have a wholesome evening of family fun before the hideous specter of Monday morning is able to make its appearance. Since grabbing our torches and pitchforks and heading down to the outskirts of town in order to torment the town witch is considered passe’, we find the something just as wrought with anger and vitriol……. Family Game Night.

Now I have long professed my love for the wonderful human beings with whom I share my home and I do thoroughly enjoy the mind building exercises offered by many table top gaming enterprises, but for some reason when you combine the two something always goes awry. Not that there have not been some wonderful times spent while gathered around the dining room table rolling dice and moving various pieces of plastic around a thin piece of cardboard.During those times together, you learn some very powerful lessons about the members of your family. These lessons reveal what type of people your family has become. Unfortunately, what you learn that your family has become……is a group of people who cheat at board games. And despite what all the Mafia movies have taught, there is absolutely no honor among thieves.

The games always start with the greatest of intentions. Everyone greets each other warmly and makes some passing comment about how great it is to turn off the t.v. and be together. Then it begins, there is the sudden jockeying for the “good” chair, you know, that one piece of furniture in the house that doesn’t require a thrice folded piece of cardboard to prevent it from rocking like a three legged table on the deck of the Andrea Gail. Then there is the customary battle for the right to go first. Is it by age? By sex? By assigning  a number value to each letter of everyone’s name and using those values to determine whose name contains the most prime numbers? It is at this point that what began as a peaceful sojourn into the dining room has now become the War Room scene from Dr. Strangelove. Either that or the yard at San Quentin. This is the primary reason why I am opposed to plural marriage. Going through this once a month is bad enough. I refuse to repeat this chaos three fold at my Sister Wives’ homes.

I can’t really blame my family for going somewhat bonkers at these events, the true culprit is a timing issue. The timing issue is that it happens to be Sunday, and Sundays just plain suck. Now one must understand the dichotomy of the  Lord’s Day in order to fully comprehend the inherent problems that the day brings. For Sunday is actually two different days rolled up into one. And like all twins, one is good and the other is pure evil . Good Sunday begins in the morning. And let’s face it, any morning that features the consumption of bacon is a good thing. Then as a bonus, there is usually the opportunity to sleep in. There is another large and usually home cooked meal just around the corner at lunch, keep racking up the points don’t ya Sunday. And then, like an extra order of unpaid for wontons in your bag from the Takee Outee, there is FOOTBALL. What a blissfull and wonderful day, for Sunday has become the king of all days. Then about 5 o’clock it happens. You hit the wall. You come to the realization that in a matter of hours you have to return to work/school/ correction facility and you see the evil that Sunday morphs into. For not only is the joyfulness of the day ruined but now you have to bust your ass to get bathed, clothes laid out, meals planned, and mentally prepared for the workweek. All activities that you could have been doing instead of eating bacon, gorging on fried chicken and gambling the kids college fund in the company office pool. ( Friendly tip: Never wager on anything at work. If you lose, they know the exact day when you will have the money to pay up).

Sunday is like a spa retreat. It begins as a soothing massage while listening to the cool sounds of free form jazz. The afternoon ends,however, feeling like you are in the middle of a ukelele, kazoo and vuvuzela concert while your mouth is stuffed full of poison ivy and ghost chili peppers. So you can understand why a game of parcheesi is so difficult to endure.

It’s not just the end of the weekend psyche that makes pulling off game night a challenge, the games themselves are also to blame.While the toy industry continues to keep itself fresh and new to keep pace with kids ever changing needs, the basic method of play has remained essentially unchanged. Whether it’s Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoy, or Legos, building toys all have similar play methods. G.I. Joe or Darth Vader, action figures are action figures. And, I don’t care if its Barbie, Ken. Bratz, Monster High, Winx Club or even Kim Kardasian and Ray J’s anatomically correct “Make your own Internet video” play set, little girls don’t need instructions to know how to play.

But, oh no, not board games. Each new board game is more complex and confusing than the one that came before. It isn’t just the complicated ones that are the problem, the new simple ones are just plain stupid. There is Cuponk, a game involving the speedy stacking of plastic cups. We had a game like that when I was younger, it was called,”OH MY LORD! Grab and hide all those plastic cups full of booze cause I just saw Mom walking up the driveway.” And for every Checkers or Bingo there is some new completely illogical, unnecessarily confusing game that I need a P.H.D. and a decoder ring just to set it up. Even if you try to stick to the classics, something bad always happens. If we haven’t played a certain game in a while, when we pull it out, we can never remember exactly how to play it. If the game has 3 boards, 156 plastic pawns and 18 different sized dice, there will always be one thing that got lost…the directions. So you dump out the box and see a small piece of white paper go fluttering under the couch. You dive for it like Indiana Jones in the night club scene from Temple of Doom and thrust your hand under the aforementioned davenport. After extracting more dust bunnies that the cast of Watership Down, you retrieve the directions.. You thrust it into the air like the Stanley Cup and then you realize that it is page 5 of 212. Oh yeah, it’s in Chinese because a game with multiple action cards written in English, is such a huge hit in Beijing.

Just the other day, we decided to play The Game of Life. We all sat down, set up the game and were ready to get it going when we discovered that the directions were missing. So here we were, playing The Game of Life without any indication as to the best way to go. It felt like a great metaphor for something. That’s right, it was a metaphor for…….Monopoly.Since we didn’t have the rules, and you can’t play without rules or you get board game anarchy, so we made up our own. So if you find yourself a little lost in The Game of Life, feel free to use my rules:

  • Tails never fails.
  • If you break it you buy it.
  • If you chip it, just put the bad side in a corner facing the wall.
  • If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.
  • If you are cheating, you really don’t have to be trying that hard.
  • Eating is cheating, so no late night ice cream if you are on a diet.
  • Women, men hate it when you fake it. So if you line up to punt then you better  kick the ball away.
  • Time doesn’t fly when you are having fun, money does.
  • Nothing good happens after 2a.m., but your friends don’t need to know that.
  • You were born with two eyebrows, try to keep it that way. Women: that doesn’t mean 0. Men: that doesn’t mean 1.
  • Saying,”but I have a black friend” makes you more racist not less.
  • You one vote doesn’t count.Sorry,it’s called the Electoral College. Look it up.
  • If you are that miserable, tell a therapist not Facebook.
  • There is no macho way to talk about the stuff you find on Pinterest.
  • Math matters.
  • Language and grammar matter.
  • Science matters.
  • But without History, you won’t know why they matter.
  • Two wrongs don’t make a right but three rights will take you around the block.
  • If you can’t cut the mustard, that is because it is a liquid.Use a spoon.
  • It isn’t how fast you run, it’s how good a lead you started with.
  • Christian Gray is a fictional character. I’m sorry about that, maybe next time.
  • Don’t count you chickens before they hatch. Because before they hatch, they aren’t chickens they are eggs.
  • Excuse my French, you are a bout to hear another “f” word.
  • Rolling doubles three times will not get you out of jail, but it will get you an invitation to the prison Yahtzee tournament .
  • Idle hands are the devil’s tools, and so are left handed scissors.
  • Rome was not built in a day, but it was destroyed in one.
  • Variety is not the spice of life, garlic is.

Well, those are the rules we came up with and now it’s my turn to roll the dice…………………………………………

Can I sit in the “good” chair?

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