Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Life as a Player

I’ve never been very good at sports and we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up (we wuz poah, y'all). But I’ve always had a great imagination.

As a result, I’ve had to be creative in devising ways to amuse myself.

Here are some of the games I’ve created with family and friends over the years.

1. “The Japanese are coming!” game - When we were young, my sisters and I would shout “The Japanese are coming!” at the top our lungs. That was a signal to run as fast as we could to get to a destination. This was inspired by stories from our parents about growing up during World War II. I do need to say that I’ve since made a lot of Japanese friends. Today, when I hear somebody shouting “The Japanese are coming!” , I’m more likely to run towards them, not away. However, the objective of arriving ahead at a destination remains the same. At least two players must participate. This can be played anytime exercise or speed is required. Or - when you all need to use the bathroom.

2. “The most painful” game – This is topping-off your friends’ idea of what the most painful thing could be. The last time I played this, the runaway winner was – "chewing on blades then gargling with vinegar". At least two players are needed. “Betrayal is not a valid answer and will ruin the game– this is about physical pain not a an existentialist discussion. While this can be great fun - unfortuantely, it can not be played too often as there are only so many ways to hurt yourself.

3. “The Houdini” game – This is tying yourself up to a post or any immoveable object and racing to see who’s able to break free first. At least two players are required with one other person to check on time and to prevent cheaters. This can be played anytime you have too much time on your hands.

4. “The mental math” game – This is a race to arrive at the product of two numbers with at least three digits each. The answer has to be arrived at mentally without the use of paper or a calculator. At least two players are required. This is great for long road trips or when you run out of conversation topics.

5. "The use-this-word" game - Occassionally, just before a big presentation to a public audience or an important client, I would ask my companions to give me any word they could think of and I would bet that I would be able to use these in -context. It's great fun to figure out how to make words like "necrophilia" or "lipstick" relevant when you're talking about software.

6. "The guess-my-age" game - When you're in a restaurant with a group of friends, you ask the server to guess how old each of you are. This is very risky and certainly not for the faint-hearted, very similar to Russian roulette. You never know what you're going to get. But, it an also be very satisfying when you're given an age lower than your real one, even if you know that the server is lying

So, who needs a stupid X-Box when you can do all of these?

(photo courtesy of Forti Suarez, may not be reproduced without prior permission)

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