Games people play Pandora Melly learns about winning, losing and trying on hats
Saturday 28 June 1997
I've racked my brains. This is the problem: I don't play games. I used to play dominoes, because I used to drink quite a bit and it was the only game I could keep track of late at night. I'd play with anyone who was stupid enough to put up with being shouted at.
Then there was the hat game. A box full of Trotsky hats, woollen hats, Afghan hats - just every kind of hat, and what you'd do is, after dinner, you'd get the hats out and put them out and put them on your head one after the other, and pass them round and roar with laughter. It helps if there's a family group, because some of the hats will be too small or too big.
Years ago I used to play darts, but I find competitive games really boring because there's always somebody who wants to win. If you really want to win, you'll just keep on until you do.
Team games like football I hated; boxing I quite liked, but then again you've got the same kind of problem because somebody doesn't just want to win, they want to kill you. I won't defend boxing, although there is quite a lot of skill involved, but you tend to wind up with a complete psychopath who wants to push your nose through your frontal lobes.
I've played with people for whom winning was so terribly important that it became an end in itself, and I've never felt that way about a game. The only time I really got into games was when I used to drink. You get a sort of tunnel vision and your boredom threshold rises through alcohol abuse.
Jigsaws are particularly infuriating; I feel like getting a pair of scissors and making the bastards fit.
A 9,000-piece jigsaw of "The Tower of Babel" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder is produced by Ravensburger, price pounds 49.95. Scissors are available at any department store or hardware shop.
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