My husband has gone through a number of widower seasons. His teacher widower condition has been permanent, but he eventually qualified as a gaming widower. I blame him entirely. I mean, we used to play games, word games which I could handily win since he is the strong, silent type. What a wimp! At the first mention of Scrabble, he’d break out in a sweat and run for cover. The real trouble was his foolish preference for card games. OK, I admit that I can’t stand to lose AT ALL and card games make me dizzy. My brain is wired for words, not hearts. We had a perfect standoff so he became a gaming widower.
When our son, M, came of gaming age, we began a new phase, starting with Star Wars Monopoly. I was always Princess Leia, who pouted when she observed that my husband and son always came in first and second. Poor Leia, dragging behind in third place, had to be carried along with generous loans from the bank and Han Solo. Having gotten sick of Monopoly, I foolishly introduced our teaching orphan to a number of card games. I’m sure you can appreciate the sacrificial love on my part. Sadly, M was just like his father. Our little math whiz could beat me without effort in any card game. Being an experienced teacher who understands the effect of distracting environments, I started switching on the the Weather Channel while M and I played in front of the TV. Our geek son was fascinated with weather maps and hale meteorologists standing at the edges of hurricanes. My winning-to-losing ratio improved, but my husband must have smelled blood, because he joined us. We morphed into a card playing family with me as a wary, weary participant.
The guys’ favorite game was hearts. Bloody hearts. Two card counting maniacs who barely smothered their glee as I tried to collect all the hearts, only to have one of them “eat” a heart on the last hand. “You didn’t realize there was a three of hearts out there?” “Well, Mom, when you played that 8 of clubs, I knew exactly what you what you had left in your hand.” I didn’t even know what I had left in my hand! I was smeared in every game. They grinned as I went down in flames. Drawing upon my years of teacher wisdom, I became petulant and manipulative. You want me to play? Then you’d better let me win. Tears didn’t phase them. Anger rolled off their backs. I drew a line in the sand: If you don’t let me win, I’m not playing. Did I mention that I teach social skills? My husband and M became gaming widower and orphan. And I could always beat the socks off my students, if I needed to.
Fast forward to M meeting A, falling in love and marrying the perfect daughter-in-law. She’s sweet, bright, has excellent social skills, and loves us, of all things. Smooth sailing until we discover that A is a gaming addict. Stay tuned for more bloody hearts.