Friday, January 9, 2009

Top Banana

Speaking of games . . . . . Jacquie's post yesterday reminded me of a funny story.
Mistah Schleckah is not, as mentioned, a fan of games. My sister Jane, on the other hand, most definitely is. She likes to play games, and she likes to win games.

And she also likes to read directions for games . . .
Jane single-handedly started the Bananagrams revolution at Thanksgiving.
Well, perhaps not revolution necessarily, but Bill and I gave it to Julie and her kids for Christmas, and Mary Beth gave it to two friends, and we got it from our friend Dorothy. It’s a really fun game, and when you win, you have to do a monkey dance. Jane’s rules.

In 2004 our whole family got together at my brother-in-law Doug’s family’s place in Northern Wisconsin. It was, as a matter of fact, the last time all 20 of us were together.

Quite a crew, no?
One night after dinner, Jane convinced everyone – well, everyone 8 and older – to play the game “99”. The rules are something like: everyone goes around the table, discarding a card face-up to the pile, adding the value of the discarded card to the growing total. If you hit the number 99 on your turn, you lose one of the 4 pennies you start out with. Or something like that. There are 4 different magic cards – one reverses the direction of play, one keeps the count the same, one reduces the count by ten, etc.

I, shockingly, was the first one to lose all four pennies, and I was thrown out like yesterday’s news. At first I didn’t mind, but then I realized that all 19 of my friends were going to be playing the game all night long without me – you keep playing, dropping people one at a time, until there is a winner.

I wandered out into the Westy – it was a beautiful night – and waited until some other loser joined me. My sister Mary Beth was next (I think). I cheered madly when I saw, she joined me in the Westy, we consoled eachother, cracked another beer, and waited for the next victim.

Through the course of the night, the crowd around the table shrunk and the crowd in the Westy grew. We called it the Losers’ Lounge. We cheered wildly whenever the door opened and someone appeared. And each person, unprompted, did the same sad Walk of Shame out to the Westy. Until he or she got there and realized how much more fun it was out than in.

Which, of course, was killing Bill. He wanted nothing more than to be in his Westy with the fun crowd, but he – the hater of all games, board- or card- – was just absolutely stunningly brilliant at “99”. And therefore kept surviving rounds.
These two are 12 now.
My nephew Joseph – one of the two then-8-year-olds – lasted a long, long time, right into the Final Four. When he finally lost he made the Walk of Shame to the Westy, accompanied by loud, raucous, mad, wild cheers from his drunken enthusiastic aunts and uncles – there were 10 or 12 people in the Westy by then – and said, “I just came out to say hi; my mom says I have to go to bed.”

And then there were two. Jane and Bill. The lover of the games and the hater of the games. The competitive one and the one who wanted it to be over so he could join the party in the Westy.

Who would it be?

The door opened . . .

. . . and out walked . . .

. . . can you guess? . . .
. . . . . .

That's right. Our Big Winner. The triumphant – if reluctant – “99” Champion of the World.


Anonymous said...

Oh boy, isn't that always the way? Great story!

So bananagrams is good? Glad to hear it! We gave it to my nephew for his birthday last spring because it looked cool to us (but we never actually played it)

NucMEd is Hot said...

You make me want a big family! I think it's funny and sad that Bill would have loved to have been outside and just couldn't get there.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh my goozness, that's a good one! That is the funniest memory ever, I was *ahem* on the earlyish side to make the walk of shame, and it was so hysterical as we tried to predict who would be next to show their defeated face.

Hey, maybe the internet will help us think of a good venue for our bleeping reunion this summer! Any suggestions, peeps?


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Well, shit howdy, Mistah! Congratulations!! "99" Champion of the World -- now that's something.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Jesus, have you noticed how I forget to leave my name every flipping time???

The message above was from me, Beth.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Beth, your words of wisdom identify you, especially when you say profound things like "shit howdy"

Captain Dumbass said...

Can you adopt my family?

Anonymous said...

Right off the bat, I was thinking I'd much rather be in the Westy drinking beer than playing a game inside. I totally feel for Bill. Too bad he's too honest to lose deliberately. I would have.

Lola said...

I like to play games if I win!

99 sounds like too much work for me, though. I'm glad he kicked her competitive butt. It must have killed her!

Michele said...

Nice win! And the prize was?

Anonymous said...

Fun game but we don't own a Westy. *snifs... guess we can't play since we have no lounge

The Blue Ridge Gal

beth said...

Thanks for sharing this story; we now have a new game to play this summer vacation. Tell me again how you can lose quickly?!