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We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time.
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ROLL OF THE DICE
1 March 2004
"Lets play a game of canasta," they said.
There was a gleam in their eye, these two seasoned pros, both older than I, the old one and the younger one. They play games a lot and I never play games. I was fresh meat and these two buzzards were ready for the kill.
There was a time when I played canasta a lot, but it had been so long I didnt remember the rules. Did you lay down red 3's? Did you draw cards after you lay down red 3s? How many points is each card worth? Etc., etc.
It was a rocky start and they giggled gleefully whenever they raked in the discard pile and laid down more cards.
However, I had the last laugh, when I won the first game. Beginners luck, they told each other.
Then I won the second game.
I was feeling pretty good. Really getting into this thing.
Why dont I play games more often? This was FUN. I especially loved the old ones frustration.
They were growling by this time.
"I know!" the younger one said, brightly. "Lets play Phase 10 with dice."
Phase 10 is kind of similar to Yahtzee. You roll the dice and at each level you have a specific selection of combination you are trying to get. 2 pairs of 3; run of 4 and a set of 3; a set of 9, 7 of one color, etc.. You get three tries each time its your turn.
We started tossing the dice. If you get to a level and cant make the specific combination for that level, then you are stuck at that level, sometimes for more than one round of play, until you do.
I sailed through each level effortlessly, making my goal on the first try.
They were not happy.
Especially the old one. She was heard to utter a few epithets and glare a lot. Cards were slammed on the table. Hair was pulled (her own).
When the game was over (I won, of course), the younger one suggested that we try a new game, this time playing with regular dice. This game would take a long time to play, they told me, giggling together confidently. No way I could beat them in this game. We had to have 10,000 points to go out.
When I turned over the cup of dice and six 3s emerged (6,000 points--and an impossibility, I was told), it brought my score to over 10,000, while they were still in the low thousands.
Thats when I decided to quit playing. I wanted to go out winners. There were cries of "no fair!", but they agreed to take a break.
The old one plied me with liquor. "Have another drink."
Then there was a huge plate of food.
When the food was gone, there was dessert and by now my eyes were feeling heavy and they pounced on me. Like a cheetah biding its time, waiting for a sign of weakness in its prey, the two could see that I was not in top form and decided to gang up on me and move in for the kill.
I had to play another game and give them a chance to beat me. I had a hard time staying awake, and played badly, and the old one did win. Barely. But she was gleeful. Yippee! Shed beaten me. Finally. She was as bad a winner as she was a loser.
Happy, she went off to bed. You could almost hear her singing "I beat her! I beat her! I finally beat her!"
In the morning, the younger one suggested that we try Phase 10 again, only this time play with cards. Id already played that game with them a few weeks ago and won, so I was obviously no longer a "beginner" and they could easily beat me. Out came the cards and in short order, I was racking up yet another win.
It can get pretty ugly when the patsy you think youre going to humiliate turns out to have a streak of good luck.
Did I learn any lessons about games of skill and chance?
Dont ever play card or dice games with your mother if you think you might win.
Those old ones can get downright vicious. Its not pretty.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Weight Lost to date: 45.8 lbs