28 January 2010

On the subject of winning

When you have lived with someone for a while, you start to recognise recurring themes in the things they talk about. When you have lived with them for a long time those recurring themes start to shout at you so loud that the words become a kind of meaningless noise around the outside.

The Old Git is a competitive man. He knows it, I know it, anybody that spends more than an hour in his presence knows it. It is a sad fact of his life that he loves chess, draughts, scrabble, and any other board game that allows you to use strategy to destroy your opponent, but that he can't find anyone to play him. He has played a lot of people like me, who know the moves but just play for fun, but strangely enough, after enjoying a taste of the full on play-to-win meat grinder, we usually aren't in any rush to repeat the experience.

Frankly, I'd rather stick pins in my legs.

So, he doesn't have a steady supply of willing victims, and this disappoints him. Now I may not want to play him, and I may frequently want to stab him, but The Old Git's happiness does mean something to me, so I do sometimes try to find him a new victim, oops, I mean opponent.

I thought I had cracked it when some friends introduced me to lexulous on facebook. It's a variant of scrabble. Eight letters, different layout of scoring squares, but essentially the same game and you get to play other people that aren't on your friends list.

My simple little strand of Rosa logic went:

--> Playing strangers
--> Playing people who like to play a lot
--> People like The Old Git
--> people he can play
--> SCORE!

Problem solved, right?


Now we have a new problem.

He is playing. Oh my, is he playing. When my friends saw his active game list they said, "This dude is obsessed."

The Boy would concur. Most evenings he complains that Daddy is always playing lexulous. Some of that is jealousy, though; he wants to play too but facebook doesn't exactly have a junior section. He too has a competitive streak a mile wide.

And then we have the game talk. As with other obsessions that have come and gone, he wants to tell me about it. This is where those themes come in.

"I don't understand how the rankings work."
How is everybody going to know that I'm winning.

"This game allows nonsense words. No way is that a word."
The game is letting the other person cheat and stopping me from winning.

"I found out how the top ranking people stay up there. They delete any game in which they think they might get beaten."
They're using cheat tactics to stay up there. If they played fair I'd be winning.

"My opponent got 400 points and still lost. That's got to hurt."
Look at me winning. Am I not awesome?

I guess it could be worse. You should have seen him in his paintball phase. Imagine Rambo with a paintball gun. Now imagine him half the size and armed with a devious mind and an evil grin. It was The Old Git who proudly announced that he took out half a dozen people at one time firing up into the air so that the paintballs dropped down on them as they hid behind the barrier. Boy did they complain. He's also the one who worked out that you could rack up some serious points if you hid near the Quasar gun recharge point and shot all the people coming back with empty guns.

No, I don't play him, at anything. I'll just carry on running a victim procurement service. At the moment he's dragged himself away from his lexulous victims for a while to teach The Boy how to play chess.

I'm scared.

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