Thursday, November 19, 2009

52-Card Throw Up

Today's word:  little slam.  Definition:  The winning of all tricks except one in bridge.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that this refers to the card game.  And then I'm going to go even further out on that limb and admit that (please don't judge me) I hate cards.  Yes, that's right.  If I'm ever at your house and you suggest a rousing round of this activity, perhaps after we've consumed a lovely meal and are enjoying a glass or two of liquor, know that this sentence will strike a bit of panic in my heart: "Let's play cards."

Ooooh, yes, let's not and say we did.  It's not that I think card games are stupid. On the contrary, I believe there's a great deal of skill in playing them well.  Skill that I do not possess and have proven myself incapable of acquiring. I've been shown how to play poker and hearts and whist, you name it.  Nothing stuck.  When it comes to strategy and playing the odds and figuring out how much to wager and learning all the rules and all the hands ... well, I just don't get it.  My brain doesn't work like that.  I'm pretty much an idiot, and not in a Rain Man sort of way.  If it's not solitaire or spoons, forget it ... definitely, definitely forget it.

So cards, not so much.  But I'm all about board games.  Love 'em.  Anytime I can get a group of people together to shout out words or roll dice or draw pictures while an hourglass runs out, I'm a happy camper.  

This joy, of course, does not apply to the game "Sorry," which is just pure evil and designed to make you almost punch your best friend's husband, and "Monopoly," which lasts too long and frankly has never once ended well in my experience.  In gradeschool my sister and I finished a heated game by hurling the pieces at each other across the living room.  The houses and hotels I could take, but that little Scottie dog smarted.  Do not pass the emergency room, do not collect your copay.

My absolute favorite board game is one called, simply enough, "The Barbie Game."  I grew up playing with my mom's original set, circa 1960.  It's based on the doll, and it goes thusly:  You have four main requirements.  You must earn money, buy a dress, become a member of a school club, get a boyfriend, go steady, and finally, the ultimate goal ... become queen of the prom.

I'm guessing that this embodied the pinnacle of what your average girl thought she could strive for in 1960, so I'm not knocking it.  There was some strategy involved.  For example, don't blow all your money on the Solo in the Spotlight dress.  You can get by well enough with a cheaper one and be on your way to the malt shoppe quicker.  Also, you definitlely want to date Ken.  He's the hottest of the four boyfriends.  Tom has a Clark Kent quality about him that's mildly appealing, and Bob will do in a pinch, but you don't want to end up at the dance on Poindexter's arm.  No, that simply won't do.

Two years ago on Christmas Eve, my sister's friend Tyler came over (as he does every year, since his family is Buddhist and doesn't care that he's getting his Santa fix).  As we always do, we drank heavily and ate all manner of sweets and played a game.  We chose "The Barbie Game," largely because my dad was pouring us shots called Grandpa is Alive, I think. 

Tyler was a good sport about it.  But he apparently felt so emasculated that he found it necessary to pretend not that he was a high school girl purchasing a dress, but a pimp, buying up women and blinging them out.  This seemed to work for him, and I thought it was probably an aptly updated version.

As I recall, his strategy worked, and he did indeed become Queen of the Prom.  Or, in his case, King of the Playa's Ball, depending on how you look at it.  In a way, he achieved a kind of "little slam," winning all tricks except two -- my sister and I, who were left with only our memberships in the Scholarship Club and the Music Club, doomed to pursue terribly boring lives in academia rather than cherishing a tiara. 

But I didn't care. I had Ken.  And not only were we going steady, but I had mom's car and an extra ten bucks.  Screw you, Solo in the Spotlight.  You wouldn't have made it past first base anyway.


John and Jennie Warden said...

1) I love cards games. Over the last few years I have started playing an old card game called Risk. We were introduced by another couple that ended up becoming our closest friends in Cincinnati. I feel too young to say this, but we got together just about every to play cards!

2) John and I have really gotten into board games as well. One of our favorites is Settlers of Catan. It's a strategy game and one that sucks to learn, but once you know how to play it's fun.

3) Your Barbie game sounds fun. I think I would like it. Growing up I had a game called Mall Madness. Did we ever play that together? Basically everyone has a credit card and a shopping list. Whoever buys everything on the list first wins. As I write this it sounds much less involved than your Barbie game.

Liz said...

I can't believe you don't like to play cards, but I forgive you. We played so much growing up it was crazy. We had a few board games that we played a lot too, but our favorite was hearts. We were brutal! Of course, I used to win a lot and my brothers would get pissed and punch me in the arm. Ouch! I can't wait for all of us Augie girls to get together again and play some board games! Cranium anyone?

Anonymous said...

Wow, your childhood Monopoly experiences are not unlike my own. The only difference, when we'd get to fighting we'd somehow end out out in the VW mini bus where my parents could not hear my brother beating the crap out of me. Ah, memories.

The next time the Macy's Crew ends up at someone's house, you must bring along your Barbie game. We'll see who gets the spotlight dance then! :)


Pearl said...

Finally! Someone else who hates card games!


ole said...

When I was 5, my two older brothers were in a severe motorcycle accident on our farm (they were tearing up and down the road on their dirt bikes in the dark and, obviously, couldn't see or hear each other thus crashing into each other something wicked) and my dad and mom had to drive them to the hospital 15 miles away, so my two older sisters and I ended up hanging out at the neighbor's house on the hill above our farm. Because my sisters were hanging out with the Miller girls, Tami and Tara, who were about the same age as my sisters, their older brother Gary, who was probably like 19 or so, played with me and thought a board game would entertain me; possibly the only "easy for a 5-year-old" board game, maybe, that they had, but whatever his reason for selecting it, he pulled out his sisters' Blind Date game (early '70s) and we sat in his room and played it. The object of the game: get to the door at the end, open it and hope you get the stud for your date, not the dud, thus winning the game. My 5-year-old self was extremely happy to see the stud standing on the other side of the door when I opened it - probably too happy. :)