his past week, I had 11 straight days off of work. It was the longest stretch of vacation for me in at least five years. It was a weird experience because, except for the occasional run to QuikTrip, I spent all 11 days here. At home. Like I’ve been the past 10 months.
This did have one unintended benefit, however. I was able to not log into any work device for over a week, and I regained an appreciation for video and board games. Once I got over my need to “do” something, I recognized the importance of simply stopping, slowing down, and shooting some zombies in the head. It worked, frankly.
My wife and I played Rummy for a few hours. We played Uno. I played Zombie Shoot Em Up Game. It was pretty great.
There’s something cathartic about a game. There’s a start, a middle, a finish. There’s a winner and a loser, and, most importantly, there are rules. Yes, we’ve reached the point in my column where I tie it together.
Many a holy war has been started in my household over Monopoly. We used to play several times a year with large stretches in between because of hurt feelings or bad blood. Someone wouldn’t trade with someone. Somebody else bought up all the properties too early. Someone got lucky with landing on Boardwalk AND Park Place in the same turn. (That one still chaps me.) But, ultimately, we all played by the rules and recognized a winner and a loser. No matter how intense the game got, we would honor the game, take a break, and come back again.
This is certainly not the mood of the outgoing administration in Washington. Clearly, the president, who lost, is disregarding any rules and imposing his will to keep control of the White House. The sad thing is that these were the same rules that saw many members of his own party win election to Congress. This isn’t enough, obviously, so simply disregard the rules. Dip into the Monopoly bank when you’re out of money. Take a property from someone else simply because you want it more. At a certain point, it stops looking like Monopoly altogether. You’d expect one to just move your piece at random using six dice instead of two. That’s not Monopoly, that’s Yahtzee.
Games and contests have winners and losers. They also have rules. The rules are agreed to ahead of the contest, and then you let the chips fall. You can’t suddenly make up more rules or throw a temper tantrum until you’re declared the winner. Move on. Get another game out of the game cabinet.
Eleven days off work allowed me an awful lot of time to learn the rules to the games I was playing. It also, unfortunately, allowed me to watch a lot of cable news. Maybe I can just kick and scream and get another eleven days off work and then the rules will have changed. Or, maybe in 11 more days we’ll have a new administration.
(Find Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed, or catch him trying his hand at livestreaming a few times a week at twitch.tv/thefakened)