The Beginning …

(LOOSELY based on something I overheard on the Bus one day…)

[Did you ever know one of those smart but awkward kids? The only kid who would actually read the rule book BEFORE trying to play that new game. Yeah … me neither …heh … ahem.]

Picture the horrifying scene if you dare. It was another Christmas afternoon in the not so distant past and everyone in the family had just risen from their customary nap. Everyone, that is, except for our subject. (We’ll call him “Mr. K” to protect his identity) It seems that poor Mr. K had once again devoted his Christmas afternoon to learning the rules for the family’s new board game. [A family Christmas tradition you see.] Once again, it is a game that promises lots of fun and love filled family bonding time. Naïve fools. You think they would have known better after last year’s horrifying turn of events over “Balderdash.”

“All right, Mr. K” says one of his siblings, “How do you play THIS game?” A frustrating scene ensues, wherein Mr. K eloquently states the overall theme of the game, and some of the more innovative aspects of the rules. He is met with yawns, blank stares, and questions like “So do you roll this thing?” “What are these for?” “Who gets this piece?” “When’s dinner?”  “How long is this going to take?”  “What are these things for again?” After ten minutes of talking past each other one of the parents inevitably pipes in “That’s OK, I’m sure we’ll pick up the rules as we go along.” A look of vague horror creeps into the young Mr. K’s face.

Resolutely our hero forges ahead, despite the dangers. With the passing of each turn he becomes more and more involved in playing the game for all three of his siblings, and both of his parents, who despite their erstwhile assurances still have not “picked up the rules” as they have been going along. Each player becomes more and more frustrated as the game gets further beyond their understanding and they get more and more reliant upon Mr. K’s research for just what they can and can’t do. The fun times and family bonding are still nowhere to be seen.

And then it happens. Something in the rules comes up and bites one of the siblings in the bum. They are out of the race. And they blame poor Mr. K for it. “YOU NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO … [insert various rule options here] … BEFORE!” the cry goes up. “NO WONDER HE’S WINNING!” chimes in a second accuser. “YOU’RE JUST MAKING UP THE RULES AS YOU GO ALONG AREN’T YOU?”

The reservoirs of self doubt, anxiety, and traumatic Christmases past come flooding to the surface. “Oh Yeah?” Mr. K shouts out as rises from the kitchen table, fist in the air. “If I were making up the rules do you really think you would have gotten even this far?” “If I were making up the rules don’t you think I’d do a better job than this!?!” “If I were making up the rules … “

And with those fortuitous words a fiery gleam begins to glow in the young man’s eye.

With those words a legend is born!

“Yeah, OK there …” his family says, also getting up. “We’ll be in the other room watching TV.”

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