Friday, 12 February 2010

Games! Games?

Oh I hate games… all sorts of games. I had completely forgotten about it since I luckily don’t live a playing environment.

My first recollection of playing a board game is one of a board flying through the room, plastic pieces all over the place, me throwing a tantrum of titanic dimensions and a flabbergasted grandpa stating: “Never ever will I play with you again!”

That was at the age of five.

Is it me being a single child? Or is it just me?

I never owned a Monopoly game, but we had a box containing those usual culprits like ‘Double Mill’, ‘Chinese Checkers’, ‘Ludo’ and some others. I dreaded birthdays when I knew that there would always be some idiot suggesting a game and I had to get that damn box out. I quickly took care of this problem by losing a good deal of the stones blaming it on the dogs which we luckily had.

In my late teens it was the fashion to play card games. I never got the hang of them: Skat, Rummy, Canasta – Who can remember all the rules and their exceptions and not mix them all up?

And I can’t bluff!

On one hand one is compelled to become a lawful citizen of society: not lying, not cheating and respecting other people. And then they are inventing card games where one can practice the skill of lying, cheating and rubbing salt into other peoples wounds when they have lost the game.

‘Did you see how I won that? That was brilliant! Admit it, I completely destroyed you! You never should have pulled that card – what a stupid move that was!

At age 18 I was invited to a card game evening. Very odd actually: friends of my parents invited me and my dear boyfriend at the time to a social get-together: Dinner and cards. No idea why. It felt a bit like an initiation process into adulthood. Having my tantrum throwing past sitting in the back of my mind, knowing that I would have to behave well since feedback would be given to my parents, and given that I didn’t feel grown up at all I arrived in a rather shaky condition – what doesn’t help for fluent conversation and bluffing through card games.

I hate to lose, I really do! So on one hand I couldn’t help but assume that others would feel the same way and on the rare occasion that I was winning I felt so bad that I apologised so often, that not the losing but my servility made them uneasy.

When I was losing on the other hand I was building up pressure levels which easily could have fuelled the Orientexpress from here to – well, … the Orient – and the only available release was a comical one towards myself. So the whole experience of social card play became the nightmare that had been anticipated.

I should be grateful for the experience nevertheless, since this was the night when I learned that it is best when one takes the mickey out of oneself, and it might be the reason due to which I at least became remotely funny, giving hope that you may be saved from utter boredom right now.

However, I promised myself to never ever play again!

The original set of cards!

I started playing with them
33 years ago

There is one exception tough – while my grandpa kept to his promise and left me alone with any further social game attempts, it was grandma who tamed my tempers with a good game of Solitaire, or as we called it Patience.

My dear grandmother had a rather schizophrenic personality and it became increasingly difficult to get along with her in her old days, but she was a brilliant card player. She played a two player version of Patience – and patience it needs. Although the aim still is to win against the opponent, the main objective is to resolve the game.

If you don’t work together to resolve the game...

...nobody can win!

What a wonderful lesson for life – ‘Two Player Patience Workshops’ should be made mandatory for managers!


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