Just promise to play the board game until the end

I forgot that Twister counts as a board game if you are sober and clothed.

I almost forgot that Twister counts as a board game if you are sober and clothed.

As you get used to the idea of being a father, your realization of the sheer breadth of your responsibility unfolds slowly, like when you unfold a board game.  Except with this board game, once unfolded, it spreads out wider than a room, wider than a house.

Your first instinct is to act as if you are alone on a giant dance floor.  So at first, you run around a little and goof around, maybe do one of those running slides on your knees.   Maybe try out your best Running Man if you’re sure no one is looking.

But then you start realizing that this board game has more pieces than twenty Mouse Trap games put together.  It has 300-sided dice.   It has myriad Chutes and Ladders.  It has several pop-o-matic bubbles.   It has many, many Chance cards.   You sometimes are not allowed to pass Go and often cannot collect $200.   There are times when you just want to quit the game, even if you are the one with three hotels on Boardwalk – just because it’s a damn long game.  But the most terrifying and worst outcome possible is the concept of Game Over.  You will stay up many nights in fear of it.

Thankfully, there are also triple word scores.  There are bank errors in your favor.   There are bingo bonuses.  Sometimes you get to say “King me.”  Sometimes your opponent has to Draw Four and deal with whatever color you decide.  Sometimes, after a stampede of hippos, you’re the one with the most marbles, and you win.

So you start setting up the rules.  They do not fit inside the boxtop.

I don’t just mean that you enforce bedtimes and ban phrases and foods.  What I mean is that you start making all kinds of plans for your kid.

He’s going to be an athlete.  A movie star.  A scientist.  A writer.  He’s going to take music lessons, and karate lessons and riding lessons.  He’s going to go to soccer camp and basketball camp and kiss-your-first-girl camp.

This is not a realistic goal.

This is not a realistic goal.

Oh, and he’s going to have all the things you think you should have had.   He will have the cool Star Wars toys, the cool sneakers, the cool bike, the cool car.  And by doing all these things, what he will get of course, is the cool Dad.

This game you’ve created.  It kind of seems really, really hard.  And the object seems to be more about you than about him.

Maybe – just maybe – all you really have to do is promise to play the board game with him until the end.

And maybe even let him win a few times.  Dude.  It’s just Candy Land.


10 Responses to “Just promise to play the board game until the end”

  1. …or just buy some better board games!

  2. Ahhh. The game of life. It’s all about strategy and planning and thinking ahead and cheating. Oh, no. Wait. I’m pretty sure that last one isn’t right. Clearly it’s best I leave the parenting up to you. (Wiping the playing field with your opponent’s a$$? Maybe that one?) (Nevermind.)

    Anyway, since – say it with me now! – it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game, I’m fairly certain Buster’s going to do just fine. Because Buster has DOB on his team.

  3. Big, air-inflated, outdoor Twister? Seriously? Who knew??

  4. Great post and most-excellent use of the board-game metaphor. I plan to forward this to all my father friends.

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    please can you let me know how much it costs for the giant twister board game (outdoors, inflatable) I cannot find the price on your website
    Many thanks

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