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Games with no rules and no end …

“I WIN!” my opponent screamed victoriously. “Let’s play AGAIN!”

I bit my tongue so as not to point out that he had just cheated throughout the whole game, but decided to be a good sport and continue on with another round.

We played another game and the same thing happened.



“I win AGAIN!” he cried out unabashedly. “YAY for ME!”

I was playing pool with a 5-year-old.



It started when we had gone to a friend’s house for a barbecue. These days, barbecues at friends’ homes often involve small children who seem to believe that their parents have thrown a party so they have new people to play with.

And although husband-head and I don’t have children, we like spending time with them – as long as we can give them back to their rightful owner when we are done or when they start to cry – whichever comes first …

I felt a tug on my shirt and looked down. The hostess’s young son grabbed me by the hand and told me to come with him.

He led me downstairs to the basement where there was a large pool table in the middle of the room and he insisted that we play.

“You know how to play pool?” I asked, impressed that he had learned at such a young age and thinking that in another 16 years he’d surely be a successful pool shark at the local tavern.

And although I am not very good, I agreed.

But this was not your typical game of pool, I was to soon find out. This game did not involve cue sticks, which were bigger than my 3-foot tall friend. In fact, this game didn’t involve any of the traditional rules, except of course, the ones that he made up along the way …

“First, I get to pick my favorite colored balls,” he informed me, with no regard to solids or stripes.

It also didn’t matter that we had the same NUMBER of balls – he got to choose the ones he wanted and I got whichever was left over.

Then I was instructed to stand at the opposite end of the table and we each lined up our balls in front of us. For some reason, I have always believed that the object in the game of pool was to get the balls into the little pockets around the table.

But not in this game. No siree. The object of THIS game was to randomly roll the balls across the table as hard as you could at the other person, regardless of where they went. I assumed the first person to get their teeth knocked out would be the winner …

The balls flew furiously back and forth – oftentimes flying around the room and bouncing onto the floor.

It occurred to me that, by the end of the game, somebody was going to cry …

By an act of God, eventually several of the balls made it into the pockets, which was encouraging in that it indicated that there might some day BE an end to the game. The ones that didn’t make it in, he simply dropped into the holes and proclaimed himself the winner.

“Let’s play AGAIN!” he cried, as he began plucking out his favorite balls, without waiting for an answer.

I was in 5-year-old game hell …

After awhile, husband-head came downstairs looking for me.

“What are you DOING?” he asked, watching us violently smash the balls against each other on the table.

“We’re playing pool!” I said through clenched teeth and giving him the “you-better-get-me-out-of-this” look. “Here! Why don’t YOU play?”

Husband-head, fearing that I was going to cry, took my place at the end of the table and proceeded to play the nontraditional game.

“I WIN!” husband-head yelled out after a few minutes, before the 5-year-old had a chance.

“No, the person who touches that ball loses,” the 5-year-old said, making up a new rule and pointing to the ball in husband-head’s hand. “Let’s play AGAIN!”

A couple of days later, the game ended.

But husband-head and I snuck out the back door of the party when we saw him pick up a deck of cards…

New Castle resident Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.


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