Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:
What’s the most meaningless game you’ve ever cheated in?
Rules are simple: what are you capable of doing to win, even when the chips aren’t down? A story about cheating to win is still a story about winning. A story about cheating in something meaningless — something truly, truly meaningless — is a story about depravity.
Either only children cheat in games more often or that’s what I tell myself to excuse my shitty behavior. I was ruthless as a kid. I would move pieces when people looked away. I would do anything it took to give me an upper hand. There’s a great term in the world of video games for this now, a euphemism for some kinds of cheating: “clever use of game mechanics.” I’ll take my best moments to my grave, but my dumbest “use of game mechanics” surely has to have happened in a bowling alley. I have a ton of hubris about my bowling (which is dumb in a different way), but like anyone else with too much pride, I fear the fall. I’ll talk in your backswing. As the expression goes, “It is not enough that I succeed, others must fail.” Bowling doesn’t matter, but damn if I don’t forget that instantly in those places.
Monopoly: the game my mother calls a “marriage ender.” It’s the kind of game where people generally agree upon “house rules” beforehand, but I generally also operate on a few private rules of my own. For instance, I make deals with players concerning property and free passes and such, and I’ve been accused of cheating many times while taking the “Free Parking” money. But I just consider those who call “cheat” to be jealous. Monopoly is totally the kind of game that reveals everything about someone. It should definitely be played with Xanax.
I don’t remember the last time I cheated in a game. I am a bit of a “knight” when it comes to competition and I’d rather get beaten badly than win unfairly. That’s probably why I never accept handicaps in games, also. How else am I supposed to be the very best? Like no one ever was.
I do not resort to cheating. I mostly just yell loudly at whoever is beating me. I am going to tell of the most egregious cheating that has ever been practiced upon me. I was at a wedding in Germany with a lot of good friends and my wife. German weddings are uh, kind of next-level when it comes to festivities. I don’t even mean drinking – I mean all the skits and games the ones close to the bride and groom are supposed to come up with. The groom’s best man, his brother, decided that his contribution would be to introduce dizzy bat to Germany. He was successful, and it was great. It was also girls versus boys. The men stood up, taking this very seriously, most having already tied quite a few on. All of us were very dedicated, and I can definitely say that spinning around on a bat, drinking an entire pint, then running down the room is almost a terrifying experience. I cannot remember any other time in my life where, running, I could literally not tell where the ground was going to be the next time my foot hit it. Anyway, we committed. The women went through their whole relay a split second before we did – damn, we lost! Then we saw five entirely full beers on a table right next to their team. They were just setting the beers to the side, and our entire team was too into competing to even notice.
I’m sure I cheated at games a lot when I was a kid, but nothing sticks out except for this dick move I’d do when my older sister got “Free Parking” in Monopoly where I’d dig my fingers under the board–really get both hands under there, as close to center as possible–and I’d try to make the board hit the ceiling. Then I’d laugh like it was funny, like no one else had been enjoying the game either and I had just livened the mood. Except everyone had been enjoying the game, especially my older sister. It’s okay. I hate myself, too.
I could insert any video game from the 1990s into this category. In all seriousness though, our family played Bible Trivia, which is just a religious Trivia Pursuit. We would have a weekly bible study and my sister and I would try to convince my parents to play trivia instead. During these games I would do anything I could, whether it was keeping a bible in the bathroom, or just something simple like looking behind a card, to get the “answers.” I can’t tell if I was a either good player for being desperate for answers or a terrible person for cheating at bible games.