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'Games' 'people' 'play'

The human life-cycle is a complex and occasionally beautiful thing, and though the natural world holds many wonders - the surreal creativity of the Burgess Shale, the long-perfected killing machine that is the shark, the mindless complexity of insect society, and the thousand-mile migrations of tiny birds - I contend that it holds nothing more astonishing than the human journey from screaming shitting flesh-blob to, say, Visual Basic developer. However, as with many creatures, mankind commonly passes through a pupal stage in which it is dormant and useless while growing the necessities of adult life. Some never make it there, some don't appear to need it, but for me and many that I know, it was a vital stage of development which occurred between the ages of about 18 and 25, during which vestigial personality traits emerged and hardened, facial features firmed up and started to display character, and life skills were honed.

As I say, it's a wonderful thing, but life can be tough during this time of metamorphosis. Inside the body and mind are frantically reconfiguring for adulthood, but from the outside one might be considered dormant, even parasitic. Lacking the wherewithal to do anything more than survive in the world (and sometimes not even that) these pupal creatures tend to gather together in clusters for protection: from tiny shared hovels to elaborate universities. While this greatly improves their survival chances, it does lead to them spending a vast amount of time in close proximity with each other, lacking, as they do, the mental, physical, emotional and/or financial resources to roam. Without any other diversions, these proto-people are left with little choice but to interact, ideally in a way that stimulates their healthy development into adulthood, but certainly in a way which requires no energy or money.

If you or someone you know are currently going through this transformative period, I may be able to help. First, by reassuring you that all but the most hapless make it through and emerge as something approximating a grown-up. And secondly, to suggest some games to play while you're waiting. I've got several of these, all tested by archie, iruineverything and myself when we used to live together. Warning: they may have made us what we are today... Here's the first:

Say What?

You will need: One or more players, one victim
Rules: Start staring at your victim. They will soon notice, and say something. You task is to keep them speaking for as long as possible without saying anything yourself. Your only weapons are your facial expressions.
Scoring: You get a point for every second that your victim spends trying to work out what's going on. Award yourself extra points based on the bizarreness of their guesses. e.g.
"Is there a spider on me?" = 2 pts.
"Shit, you read my diary didn't you? I don't really try to imagine sleeping with my brother." = 10 pts.
"I guess you found what's buried in the back garden, huh? In a way, I'm glad it's over. I'm going to take you down with me, though..." = 50 pts.
End: The game ends when the victim storms out, hits one of you, or sinks into a coma.
Winning: No-one wins.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
vinaigrettegirl
Nov. 26th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC)
That's the first bit of genuine autistic humour i've seen in years!
oxfordhacker
Nov. 26th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks?
vinaigrettegirl
Nov. 27th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes; 'autistic' isn't a criticism. SOMBF etc.
monkeyhands
Nov. 26th, 2008 11:26 am (UTC)
I think "Say What?" is just a metaphor for life. You're right that no-one wins.
bluedevi
Nov. 26th, 2008 11:54 am (UTC)
Oh yes. I wonder if that endlessly amusing game of stealth, skill and timing, "Skulking Round The House Avoiding Someone To Whom You Owe Money", will feature.
(Anonymous)
May. 2nd, 2009 08:31 am (UTC)
Song of Time review in Amazon
I really enjoyed your review and have quoted part in my blog and linked to Amazon -

http://www.starcruzer.com

Trust that's OK.

Best regards,

David Jefferis (Mr J)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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Cute overload
oxfordhacker
Drifting in and out of consciousness

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