Monday, June 13, 2016

G&G XI: Parting Thoughts

The jerseys are thematic; please don't actually challenge us to a sport.
Of course, we didn't just hand out the Circus Maximus trophy and trundle off to beddie-byes; we squeezed in a couple games of Timeline to draw things out a little bit...

The steepest difficulty increase over time  is probably Timeline.

Next year's swag may include branded reading glasses.

And Totty, ever the magnanimous host, produced a bottle of extra-suave rum for a nightcap.

That is some smooth demon rum right there.

And that pretty much ended it.

Well, except that after I dropped Rob off at the airport and Island Mike at his sister's place, I swung back to Belongamick to clean up, and Pete, Mike and I ended up getting in some Ticket to Ride. We also played a game of Flick 'Em Up!, that crokinole gunfight game.

Sheriff Pete lines up his shot. That's why I say 'hey man; nice shot.'

Then, it was really over, at least for this year.

In many ways though, the overarching question is not why we feel compelled to draw things out as much as we can, but rather, why we bother in the first place. After all, we are all busy fellows, many of us with with families, some of us with significant business responsibilities, and none of us in danger of becoming bored anytime soon.

So why dedicate the better part of a week for the simple opportunity to play all manner of increasingly ridiculous games and perhaps drink? After all, can't both those things be done in a casino, to a greater or lesser extent?

Hat tip to Kyle at Imaginary Wars for putting this insightful image in his blog!
Part of it is undoubtedly due to the games. Even though boardgaming is growing by leaps and bounds in North America, a lot of the games we enjoy are undoubtedly going to appear inaccessible to many folks. Some of them are very nichey, or require an affectation for fantasy, science fiction or history that many do not share. Some of us live in an area where, while they may have made acquaintances of one sort or another, haven't yet met the specific varietal of nerd interested in this sort of thing.

The far, far, greater part of it though, is the people.

It takes a certain kind of person to listen patiently to an argument about the relative cover benefits afforded by an inverted cereal bowl standing in for a bunker, or the comparative maneuverability of 25th century spacecraft.

Not everyone is willing to sit at a crowded table and prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that they can't name an animal sound before their opponent can shout out a South American novelist.

If you haven't warbled your way through a song in Rock Band well outside your vocal range, your mouth dry, throat cracking, for no better reason than it being your turn to stand up for the side in a Battle of the Bands, you might call yourself a man, but I don't know how you can prove it.

There are a decidedly scant number of individuals willing to endure the agony of a misdirected elbow to the gonads with such grace and aplomb.

There are even fewer who will accept a rule reference given on the fly but only discovered to be erroneous after the fact with good humor, and accompanied by the sincere belief that it was their own responsibility to know the rules, nobody else's.

And on, and on, et cetera, ad infinitum.

It is, by any reasonable or esoteric measure, an extraordinary group of individuals. At supper on Saturday night, I couldn't resist the urge to reflect on this a bit, and read aloud something I had come across the week before in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eight Dimension by Earl Mac Rauch. It is a piece where the book's pulpy narrator, Reno of Memphis, is describing downtime amongst those hard-rocking scientists and adventurers, the Hong Kong Cavaliers (emphasis mine):

"Keep me in the picture," he [Buckaroo] said.
"The minute I hear," I replied, tipping my glass as Pinky shoved a tape in the cassette player and to an infectious syncopated beat we fell to talking among ourselves of less urgent matters.
As unofficial annalist of the group, I am often asked what such times are like, when we are alone. The truth is neither newsworthy nor particularly out of the ordinary. What do friends do when they are together? What do they talk about?
The truth is, of course, nothing and everything. We have no festering feuds or simmering rivalries, though that may disappoint some to hear. On the other hand, neither are we saints. Maudlin with drink, we talk of women, gangster chieftains, music, and weapons with the easy familiarity of men who have gone on stage and gone through battle together. Some cloistered critics have accused us of having a myopic view of the world, living out the sorts of adventures that other men hold only as fantasies. I would retort that it is our view of the world which brought us together in the first place, and whether or not it is a correct view is an issue historians will decide.

Not a great picture, but great guys, to be sure.
Our adventures are imaginary and our risks negligible, but our commitment to each other and our time together is no less real, even eleven years in.

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