Friday, November 27, 2009

Learning to Play the Game

My dad and I played a lot of games when I was growing up. We had an Atari. We played Pacman and Donkey Kong until I just about developed carpal tunnel. He burned me with hotels on Boardwalk more times than I care to remember. I shudder to think of the many times I was outwitted at checkers.

This is my kindergarten school photo. So sweet &
innocent back then. Before the Uno game.
The biggest lesson I ever learned came from a game of UNO. On an ordinary day in our house we played UNO, and as any child having fun with her father will ask I wanted to "play it again daddy." He said we could, but first he had to go to the bathroom.

 At that moment in my history, I was still naive. I believed that human beings were good, trustworthy people. I let my dad take the UNO deck into the bathroom.

He was gone for an inordinate amount of time.

He returned and told me he'd already shuffled the deck. Whilst he was in the bathroom you see. He dealt the cards.

I picked up my hand and surveyed with great amazement and joy that I had seven wonderful cards. All were either DRAW FOUR or WILD. I was about to hand my dad a delightful UNO smackdown. My six-year-old heart was soaring. I would make him pick up so many extra cards, he would never run out of cards before me. He could never win. I couldn't hide my excitement as I tried to decide whether to hit him with the DRAW FOUR right off or play it cool with a WILD CARD.

My dad asks, "mind if I go first?"

Of course he could go first. It was the least I could do. He might never recover from the defeat I was about to hand him.

So he puts down his first card, SKIP. This is not a problem.

His second card, SKIP. My cheeks flush a little.

The third card....SKIP. At this point my stomach dropped as though it was full of rocks and the blood drained out of my face.

All seven of his cards were SKIP.

By the time he said "UNO" my mind had gone blank with rage. I jumped over the cards on the floor, screamed, flailed at him with my lanky arms. My mother intervened and put me in a tight bear hug. I can still hear him laughing. I never got to play my beautiful DRAW FOUR card.

I learned a lesson that day. I will never let him go potty with a deck of cards again.