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.