Dearest friend, as I sip this coffee this morning while typing this email I am slowly reminded of the full scale of last night’s events. Like a crumpled piece of paper, my memory unfolds with each gulp of coffee. Deep lines scar and mar some of the details, but the picture becomes clear once I hold it to the light. Alcohol has profound effects on the actions of man, and if we were to include the role of alcohol in history then every glorious conflict would seem a lot more sloppy and silly and accidental. For instance no one remembers Alexander telling several kingdoms that he loved them and would never conquer them, only to show up in the morning with his army and a hangover.
I am sorry for winning last night’s card games. I am deeply and truly sorry for my actions before during and after every game. As friends, I feel our decision to have a game night was the right one. As we approach our late twenties, destroying our bodies every weekend has lost some of the zing that it had. And since most of us are in relationships already, the whole staying up all night trying to get laid and failing plan is out of the window too. Then what options remain? I am glad you took me up on my suggestion of game night. You all clapped and cheered at how fun it would be to play friendly games with friends. You clapped me on my shoulder and thanked me for my suggestion. We continued to drink several beers, the night went on and plans were finalised.
I am sorry I neglected to say that I have a problem. A very real problem when it comes to games. I must win. At any cost. I cannot lose. The rest of my life takes place at the pace that it does and I have come to accept over many years that things will happen how they will. However I neglected to tell you that in my house the board games were placed in a trunk in the loft, guarded by lock and key. Kept forcibly out of my reach, because when I play games, something…happens.
When I was very young, during a friendly game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, I launched an aerial attack on my grandmother, because I felt that she was advantaged by the board leaning slightly onto her wheelchair.
“Everyone should get a fair chance!” I said between the screams in my living room. My friends in school and college soon also learned my terrible secret. They would distract me with something even if they had to toss a coin, because they knew that if I knew, I would have to win. I always win.
Now you might think that it is impossible to always win games of chance. That is if you are a fucking loser. There are many ways to win and many kinds of victory. There is victory through, shame, fear, cowardice, malice and cheating. But to me, there is only victory. It is possible to carefully shuffle decks of cards and know to a very large extent the cards that are to be played. Or to spend several hours perfect the throw of a die. People will marvel and appreciate your luck but you cannot be happy. There is only anger in my celebration because I am not having fun. I am cursed. I have to win, it is the cross I bear. I am competitive so no one has to be.
Last night I recommended many card games, and it was fruitless because I knew what had to take place. I had to win by any means and at any cost. Another horrible caveat is that I cannot allow any celebrations or distractions. Distractions are easier to explain. I require that everyone who is participating in the game, match my level of focus. And my level of focus is insane. I play cards in a void, in an empty universe where I only see the cards that I have and the chances that the other players will take. The cards they hold up to their chests glow with the rhythm of their heartbeats. So when someone has to get up to change a song when it is their mother fucking turn, I can turn quite savage. This you witnessed last night as I screamed at everyone to take the game seriously. The very worst thing you can do to someone screaming violently about seriousness is tell them that it is ‘just a game’. It is ‘just a game’ in the same way that you are ‘just alive’ or rather ‘not dead yet’. It is ‘just a game’ as much as someone has ‘not been stabbed repeatedly in the neck’. It is not ‘just a game’.
The no celebrations rule is something that I cannot explain, but just is, like the reason for continued human existence. When I see someone celebrating a minor victory in a game I become enraged to extents that often surprise me. I must then take it upon myself to remind them of all the opportunities that I had to celebrate but still did not. I often do this at large volumes and often with thunderous, ravenous sarcasm.
But the main way that I always win is that I wear people’s personalities down to a point where they cease to see a point in their own victory. I am like the snake that has wrapped around the bison, slowly crushing his neck, hoping he forgets to say UNO when he has only one card left. What even is the point? This snake is being super aggressive.
I hope you have understood my terrible shortcomings when it comes to games. I am back in rehabilitation for being a dick during low stakes non competitive friendship intensive games. Please pray for my well being and recovery, I hope to come out of my treatment as soon as possible and see you and apologise in person.
By the way have you played Risk?