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Would You Like to Play a Game?



Yesterday was Friday, and Fridays are game days and the game these days is Ten Thousand.

I like playin' games, it's part of my never-ending quest for Play. We live in a Play desert, and not necessarily as a matter of choice. I didn't get to choose the age at which I quit playin', that's programmatic. I was brainwashed with "it's time to put your toys away and be an adult".

And, see, sports, athletics, to me, aren't really play. If you look up the criteria for play, you'll find that competition is explicitly ruled out. Pure play isn't about winners and losers. True play offers nothing but joy.

So, technically, the game of ten thousand is not play, not the kind of play I'm always on the lookout for. I play ten thousand because it offers a modicum of socialization. I never play to win, because I never win. At any game. Well, any game that involves chance…

Ten thousand is a dice game. You get six die that you roll, looking for various combinations to tally the points. It's a little like some card games in that you can score as little as 50 points with the roll of a five, a hundred if you roll a one, and three, four, five and six of a kind and the almighty straight, which itself is worth five thousand points. When the objective is to get to ten thousand first, five large will put you in front of the pack, and maybe by a long shot.


Thus, ten thousand is a game of chance—except for me, it's a game of no chance.

Any. Game. Of. Chance.

I'm destined to lose. And the sucks, frankly.

Consider the game of Risk. Oh yeah, it's a game of strategy. It requires some cognitive skills to play successfully.

But.

There's no being craftier with dice. There's no insight, no vision, no keen understanding to those little boxy phuckers! And they are always, always, always against me. I have never won a game of Risk that I have participated in. I've never been part of those multi-day games, those marathon sessions of Risk that you're probably most familiar with. That's because I’m always the first one eliminated from the game. Because I couldn't out roll the other players.

After yesterday's game, I've come to the conclusion that winning with dice requires the ability to roll the dice. I mean, with each toss, you are calculating a trajectory, and perhaps imparting a spin. Physical manipulation of each little dice such that the numbers are consistently favorable. Who knows what little magic tricks my opponents have up their collective sleeve? I'm convinced the key is the toss, and demands skills I don't possess.

Oh, and I will consider one other possible influence. The dice themselves. Those little phuckers! Perhaps I should refer to my dice as anti-dice. The lack the specific gravity, the prerequisite vibration, to present their numbers in a winning fashion. I've spent a not inconsiderable sum on several sets of die, and none of them are winners! Last week, I had two game that were over before I even got in the game! (With ten thousand, you can't start collecting your points until you have rolled a thousand points in one hand.)

Pitiful? Yeah. Shameful? Not so much. It's not me, man. I've got that wholesome, playful attitude—and I still get my ass kicked in dice games.

Pardon me? No, I just didn't hear you. Say again?

Oh. Yeah. Same thing with Monopoly. And backgammon.

And card games. I just can't hold all the cards I've seen in mind, and it seems like every other player I'm up against has photographic recall!

I can hold my own in board games like Pente. I beat the computer in chess the other day (uh, well, yeah, it was at the lowest level). Right. That doesn't count for much.

I got an idea. Go across the street to Goodwill and spend twenty minutes in the toy section. Just go all the way back in time, straight back to the fountainhead—nine years old. The anti-adult. Before I was burdened with this idea of winning and losing.

Being a child ain't so bad. I prefer to think of myself as child-like, as opposed to childish.


And I'm willing to go with childlike-ish.


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