Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Today, some dude (One of the things I love about teaching at an engineering school is that some of the students are so clearly dudes. Not in any Budweiserian sense; more in the fake-flaky laid-back "my last haircut was seven months ago and that is not a beard, it's just carefully studied negligence" meaning of the term. Inner dorks get snuggly embraced here, although I also notice that the outer dorks do not get hugged so often. Other big advantage: You never get hit on by students. Like, never.) introduced me to The Game. (Or maybe I just made it all up. Long day. Who can tell oneself apart from one's dudes, after a long day following a sleepless night on account of trying to work one's way through all the implications of an Alan Lightman novel?) The metaphorical unshaven dude mentioned he picked it up from some other dude at MIT. (Or maybe he made that up too. Just as I maybe made him up. That's a double layer of fictiousness for you.)

Oh. The game!
Here is how it goes: Once you get introduced to The Game -- which is, for you, RIGHT NOW -- you are in it. And next time you think about the game, you are out. Simple as that. (Now that you got bumped out of the game, you can spend the next year of your life trying to get Heidi Klum to acknowledge that you are out. Bonus points if she gives you three kisses for your trouble.) One extra rule: You now have to announce clearly to any bystanders that you are officially out of the game. Then you have to explain to them what that means. In doing so, you introduce them to The Game, so they are in, until, of course, they think about it, which kicks them out.

What I like about the game: (a) It is the opposite of Zen. As soon as you become aware that you are playing The Game, you're out. Slog on in ignorance, my friends; mindfulness will exile you forever. (For, I forgot to mention that, you can only play The Game once.)
What I do not like: (b) It surely lasts too short to be interesting. One tiny snicker of a thought and you're done. It doesn't hurt at all. Therefore, I would like to introduce a 24-hour grace period. This has the effect that the player will create some awareness of being in The Game, and some attachment to that rare status, so that when s/he thinks about The Game 24:00:01 after being introduced to it, the pain cuts deep.
What I also like: (c) It is soooo easy to cheat. Especially with regard to the I-am-out announcement. Nobody can check on this. Any witness, say, of your induction cannot ask you for your status, for in doing so that person would, were you still in, cause you to think about The Game and thereby force you out. So, yeah, (d) for all I know, everyone is in The Game, except for you, dear reader, in about 23 hours and fifty-seven minutes. And, oh boy/girl, will you be unhappy then!

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