Thursday, February 21, 2013

You Can Be A Winner

My favorite thing about The Game of Life (I'm definitely talking about the board game) is that everything in Life is up to Chance and taking risks, and I do not believe in Fate.  

College in Life is a choice - you can still dominate the game without it.   Being a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher has absolutely nothing to do with all of the other shit Life throws your way, because there are all of these priceless artifacts to discover and mountains to climb and thieves to catch.

When I was little I always wanted to be the lawyer (not the doctor - doctors are scary) or skip college and go straight to the ponies. Skipping college, however, was not an option.  Skipping college was not even allowed in a hypothetical board game in the Rossi house. 

So I'd cross my fingers and pray for lawyer, and if I wasn't a lawyer I would consider cheating, but never do it.  I despise cheating.

One time I cheated in college and then I viciously scolded myself to tears.  (You do NOT cheat you are better than that no you're not you don't work for anything you expect recognition for shit you didn't do because why because you're a fucking worthless person and guys can't even stand to LOOK at you, you can't even fake smart or pretty and there's no reason to even be around people if you can't give them something to think about or something to look at...etc.)

Luckily, I do not scold myself anymore.  Do you hear that?  I DO NOT SCOLD MYSELF ANYMORE. 

My sister also wanted to be the lawyer, and if she didn't get her way she would pout and scream and yell until the whole family would say, "oh look your spin was a 7 instead of a 3 and you're totes a lawyer, LYLAS" so she would shut the fuck up, and then I'd be all, "Well I wanna be a lawyer tooooooo" and then everyone would just get majicked into lawyers and we passed money around and kept on starting over and starting over and never finished the game.

I feel like that means something.  After awhile I came to loathe that game, and I just played it again a few weeks ago and now I know:  this game is fucking rad.


One of my other favorites was Mastermind.

I was terrified to play Mastermind at first. In the back of my head it was forbidden, reserved only for adults because it unlocked secret psychoses and taught you about the power of temptation when faced with brutal truth and brains, like a right of passage or an emotional ordeal venturing into the depths of chaos - and not an intangible realm of chaos but the chaos within myself, I would be confronted with my most tumultuous fears that would RIP ME THE FUCK APART and then the overlords will watch, silently, as I struggled to puzzle myself back together.

Eventually, after a few years of being terrified of this game, which sat in an easily child-accessible cabinet along with Life, Candyland, and Don't Break The Ice, I would take out the mangled box and hypnotically stare at the cover before shamefully jamming it back into the pile of games.  How could I ever defeat this villain if I never accepted his challenge?  Also, does he have polio?

This went on from the ages of 5 to 8.  I really let this game psych me out.

Then one day I asked my parents if I could play Mastermind and they argued over who should teach me, I remember, and my mom won out in the end.  We started playing constantly, and I remember thinking that I was so silly for assuming so much about a game based on the cover of the box.

Here's something fucked up that I just realized, just now, because I tried to find a copy on Amazon, and I thought, "I want an old school one, with the ambiguously-evil Professor White Guy and His Indian Mistress."


Where did I learn that?

My parents definitely never taught me that.  They never said I wasn't allowed to play, they never told me to leave it alone, I just took one look at the cover and was like, "That guy and his young racially different girlfriend are going to make me feel terrible about my brain."

My parents had the Deluxe Edition from the first picture - and when I was looking for images of these games, I was flustered.

They all feature a white Bond villain in a position of power, backed by his racially-diverse feminine counterpart, who is purposely lounging with curvy mystique, casually lining the contours of her body with a graceful arm, her other arm resting behind the Master himself...

But wait.

Is he the Master, or she?  She always looks bored and in perfect control, whereas he is in the forefront with shrewd pomposity - and I feel like, although he is our competition - she is our threat. 

This is terrifying.  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?  AM I A RACIST? That must be it, I am a complete racist - look at the words I used above - forbidden, mystique - were all of those words conjuring up some kind of irrational fear in me as a child because this game had a brown woman on the cover?  And because I am white, she is an other so she's playing by different rules...was that my thought process?  How did that happen?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. (Don't yell at yourself, don't yell at yourself, you have done nothing wrong DO NOT YELL AT YOURSELF)

I've never understood the idea of saying "I don't see color, it doesn't matter to me" because it fucking matters.  Skin color shapes our identity, and ignoring such a massive, outward aspect of someone's identity is sad. 

I must delve deeper.  I must think more about this. 

Why is she the threat?  Because she looks like a fucking puppet master, that's why!  Obviously draping one arm all like, "See, nothing here" and then the other one is all hidden because it is TOTALLY STUFFED INSIDE HER BOND VILLAIN VENTRILOQUIST DUMMY.

She's a threat because of that haughty, dispassionate composure. She hasn't had a single day of happiness in her life, unless you count all the times she eviscerated her enemies with her mind.  Perhaps it's because the set-up of the picture is too perfect - the shadowed man pressing his fingertips - when and where did the pressed fingertips as a sign of villainous aggression originate?  Why is this a thing?  Are we, as people, predisposed to associate the body language behind pressed fingertips with a threat, or are we conditioned to do so because bad guys do it in movies sometimes?

I will have to research this. 


1 comment:

daisyfae said...

i loved the Game of Life. mostly for the cars. We played a modified version where sometimes we'd get triplets just to see how many people we could get in the cars. oh, and we'd pick up side jobs - like "cat rancher" - just to make it more fun.

never played mastermind - and was probably intimidated by the cover. in my trailer park, i don't know of anyone who actually had it...