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. .