Apples to Apples

It was a surly weekend, dear readers. Maybe the surliness was about having so many revisions still to do. Or maybe we’ve been staying up too late. I don’t generally talk about my surly days, because I think they’re a little boring. But sometimes at the center of surliness lies truth, or something true anyway, or maybe something sort of amusing — who knows, maybe when I get through with this post the surliness will have evaporated.

Our little family is probably the worst family in the world at playing games together, a terribleness in inverse proportion to how badly the children in this family want to have family game nights. The troubles are many. First, I refuse to play Risk, a game that goes on forever, is not very interesting, and has a goal I think less than admirable (world domination). Second, THEY refuse to play Scrabble, a game that does not go on forever, because I always win, and has a goal everyone but me finds less than admirable, namely my domination of them, word-wise. Third, that leaves pretty much only games nobody likes to play, so we end up watching a movie together, which is fine, but not as fine as playing a game sometimes.

Anyway, a few weeks ago they were at their aunt’s house and played a game they loved, Apples to Apples. A lot of fun, mom, they promised. You’ll like it because it’s about words

For the few remaining people on the face of the earth who haven’t played this game, basically, you get seven cards with nouns on them: funeral, Mata Hari, firefighter, George Bush, haunted house, for example. And then a person designated as the “judge” (a rotating position), turns over another card, which is always an adjective. Funny, cool, outrageous, sadly misguided, stupid. You lay down the card that you think is the most like the card that’s been turned over.

Fair enough. So, you’d think that the person who wins would be the person who has the good luck to have the noun that best matches the adjective — I mean, really, we all know which card goes with “sadly misguided.”

Sometimes, the cards don’t match up perfectly, and there the judge has to make the best call he or she can make.

The trouble is that people don’t always WANT to pick the best card. Sometimes they pick the dumbest comparison. Or the exact opposite. Or the one they’re pretty sure their brother put down, because they want to do something nice for him since he’s just picked THEIR card, which wasn’t anywhere nearly as good as mine.

Okay, so I’m a grump for not being amused by what is, by all accounts, a fun party game. But, really, what good is a game when there’s a judge who gets to be subjective about something that’s not actually all that subjective? Maybe the trouble here is that I work for a bunch of judges and I’m just not able to let go of my strong feeling that judges are supposed to do one thing: get it right. Or  maybe the truth is that I just hated losing.  Especially when I had the George Bush card.