i know all there is to know about the crying game
As a parent, there are a few tried and true phrases guaranteed to strike fear in my heart. They include, but are not limited to:
- "I don't feel so well."
- "I think I'm gonna puke!"
- "You are not as cool as you've led me to believe."
- "Mom? Dad? There's something we need to tell you..."
But the phrase that makes me break out into a cold sweat and want to run away from home, punch a stranger in the face, and claim I never had the pleasure of passing either of my children through my birth canal is the following:
- "Will you play a game with us?"
I believe this request is a means for Hasbro to test market a new game called "Test Your Mommy's Patience!", the goal of which is to see how long one of my children can go before I explode, throw all my game pieces in the air, and have green ooze seep from every orifice in my head (Fact - games are much cooler when there is ooze involved. Also a fact, but far less cool - moms are often left having to clean it up).
Each time the boys ask to play, I'm reminded of this scene from War Games, the movie (nay, the freakin' fantastic movie, and if you don't believe me, check it out for yourself when it airs Sunday on AMC, then come back immediately and tell me I was right. Woo hoo!) where Matthew Broderick unwittingly starts the countdown to World War III by encouraging his Commodore computer to play global thermonuclear war. I'm reminded of this because not only do my sons' requests sound so very similar to the computer's initially earnest desire, but because I know within moments of setting up the board and counting out the play money, someone will launch the first strike that will inevitably engage the rest of us in battle.
That is not a possibility, my friends. That is a fact. The first hints of war begin as the boys stand in front of the toy cabinet and attempt negotiations over what game to choose, and the first goading missile is launched when the dice are rolled to determine first moves. As a result, gleaming bulbous tears are soon rolling down one of their cheeks, making the paper money a soggy wad of despair. The wailing and thrashing of survivors clinging to a life they once knew then kicks in. It' s because of this drama that I abhor playing board games with my children.
Don't get me wrong. As a rule (and I follow all rules when playing games! Except for my junior year in college where I watched Jeopardy an hour earlier than my friends, absorbed all the answers, then stunned them with my mad skillz an hour later when we'd watch the same episode again. But whatever, that was a television show and not a game. Even though I did insist on being referred to as the Jeopardy Queen while those around me thought Cheater was more appropriate. But again, I say, whatever), I will kick your ass at Trivial Pursuit. You will marvel at my greatness at Catchphrase. You will turn to your spouse or significant other when leaving a party at my house and whisper, "Did you see the ease with which she killed us all at Scattegories?!" There does lie within me a love of the game.
When I was a kid, there was a Parker Brothers factory near my home, and every field trip I ever took meant journeying to this magical land of enchantment. At the conclusion of every tour, the guide would unleash us in a room bursting with products, and encourage us to tear the place apart and fill our heart's desire. It was like Christmas and birthdays rolled into one freakishly fantastic day, and I stocked my closet with the likes of Clue, Pay Day, and Monopoly. By stocking my closet with these items, I absolutely mean they accumulated there for my hoped for future use. My parents weren't big on playing board games with me when I was growing up, either, and now I can understand why. Have you played Monopoly lately? Seriously, Monopoly isn't so much a board game as it is a "Oh, dear God please, can we be done with this game already?! I am so freakin' bored!"
My sons' favorite games are a toss up between Battleship and Sorry!. This is most ironic when you consider every game of Battleship does, in fact, end in a battle the likes of which would send those little plastic war ships cowering to the furthest recesses of the ocean. Additionally, no one is ever sorry around here when we play Sorry!. Instead, there is much goading and poxes placed on future family members. I assume this is why Sorry! is marketed as "The game of sweet revenge." However, I think the game really sells itself more realistically as "Sorry that every game your family plays must end in tears and accusations!"
In the end, there are no real winners at my house when the board games come out. There are only whiners. If my lack of interest in playing games with my boys earns me a 'do not pass go' card in the game of life, that's a risk I'm willing to take, for I figure I've already greased up chutes and ladders path they'll take to therapy one day, anyway.