Are we all having Fun?

So…Christmas, family-style.
Everyone HAS GOT TO ENJOY THEMSELVES. All the time. Endless, relentless FUN. And as we all know, there’s only one sure-fire way to ensure such bliss.
Bring on the Board Games. 
Guaranteed to cause the maximum amount of unhappiness with minimal time and effort. Marriage going well? Crack open the Charades. Enjoying time with loved ones? Break out the Bingo. Thinking you just might have got through it all, relatively unscathed? Not if Colonel Mustard has anything to do with it.
It begins on the 26th. By the 27th, it’s open warfare. In my family you see, losing is not an option. Now I know blaming the parents is all too easy. But let me warn you – this is no place to dabble in Scrabble. Better be neutered than be neutral, (I’m not sure the cat agrees, but it’s a little late now for recriminations). Oh sure, it’s all a bit of fun… right up until someone loses a hand in ‘Hungry Hungry Hippos’. Here in the heart of No Man’s Living-Room, the pursuit of victory is far from trivial. (See what I did there? That’s the cheap crackers talking).
Tears, tantrums, sulks, recriminations (many carried over since last year). Hurling of the dice. Furtive googling. Unexpected ambushes. Strategy thinktanks and hushed consultations in the hallway. Uneasy alliances forged over the salted peanuts.

And this is nothing new. To be honest, I’ve harboured the killer instinct for as long I can remember. In infant school I was repeatedly sent outside for drawing blood during ‘friendly’ games. Mrs Dyer seemed serious, till you got to know her. But I still remember her best line, (said with a completely straight face) – ‘it’s the taking part that counts’. Comic genius.

When I told Glen that I was the least competitive member of my family, he choked. In point of fact, I’ve had to renounce competitive gaming since meeting my future mother-in-law for the first time. My initial efforts to make a good impression (or at least mute the more offensive parts of my personality) were doomed as soon as the Scattergories board was unfolded.

I tried to rein it in, really I did. (Think of what they taught you in the support group). ‘No, no, not for me. I’ll sit this one out’. For 120 interminable seconds, I sat on my hands and swallowed my (brilliant) answers. Focusing on my happy place, I even overlooked a shockingly cavalier attitude to the rules (surely the benchmark of any civilised society – even in Australia?). But as the gaming goblin reminded me, ‘I’m a WINNER, dammit’. Just one last job, then I can retire.

If only. The game finished (as they all do), with me being pulled off my opponent, (aka Glen’s cowering mother), fingers jabbing accusingly and howling, ‘Liar! You’re a liar! Tell her Glen, tell her: There’s NO SUCH WORD YOU MORON!’

It’s not exactly what every woman dreams of for her firstborn son.

I’d love to say that I learnt from ScatterGate. But with the passing of time, those urges started to return. I was a changed woman. The odd game wouldn’t do any harm, right? After all, I could stop any time I liked. So it was that one fateful night after dinner, I made the fatal suggestion, ‘who’s for a quick game of Mr and Mrs?’

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Mr and Mrs is a game designed to pit couples against other couples. It uses a series of questions in which you have to correctly predict your partner’s answer, in order to find out which couple knows the other best. Glen and I had been married for a few months, so we reckoned we were home and dry. The other two couples had six years between ’em. I’d take you through it, question by question, but gentle readers, it’s too grisly for a family blog. Suffice to say that by the end of the evening, one couple had departed screaming insults at each other, whilst the other weren’t even speaking.

(An excerpt. Q2: ‘Which part of your partner’s body would they most like to change and why?

‘My bum? What’s wrong with my bum? How can you talk, Cyrano? How can you even leave the house? Wanna talk size? That’s not a nose, it’s a jumbo jet parked on your face…’)

As we were washing up, Glen turned to me and commented happily, ‘I think that went pretty well. Did we win?’ (I blame myself).

This year we’ve been invited to a New Year’s Eve party with, you’ve guessed it, board games. I was going to abstain, but it would probably be churlish not to take part. I’m so much better than I used to be. And nothing’s worse than a spoilsport. Except perhaps a Loser. .

2 thoughts on “Are we all having Fun?

  1. I promise I’m not mocking you but this is so funny- I can just see it happening in my mind!!
    Thank you!

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