Tuesday, April 26, 2011

World's Funnest Game?

When I was young, my family played this game. I say family, but it was mostly my mom and me. Dad doesn't play anymore; he thinks it's a pointless game, but he has no idea how important this game really is. I don't know if Susan plays it with her family, but she never talks about it so I'm guessing it's died in her house.

Picture this: a new jar of peanut butter (this game works with either smooth and creamy peanut butter, crunchy peanut butter, or even extra crunchy peanut butter). You unscrew the top, peel off the foil cover underneath, and then you see it - that perfectly smooth peanut butter surface, unblemished by knife or finger.

The winner of the game is the one who gets "first dip" in that smooth surface. It might seem simple: whomever opens the jar, wins. It's not that simple.

I remember when I was a young teenager, mom came home from her weekly grocery shopping trip. I helped her unload the groceries, something I did every time because I was the perfect son. While unloading, I noticed a new jar of peanut butter, but I didn't let on that I had seen it. In my mind I was already hatching my covert peanut butter plan.

Once the bags were emptied, and the new jar of peanut butter had been placed in the pantry, I waited for mom to vacate the kitchen area. I found the new jar, quietly unscrewed the top and peeled back the foil cover, but not all the way, being careful to not bend it. In the newly exposed surface, I wrote my name, "Chris." Then, I had to wait, patiently.

Our current jar of peanut butter still had plenty left. It would be a long time before we would need to open the new jar. So I started eating peanut butter with every meal. Peanut butter on toast for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly for lunch and for an after school snack. Peanut butter on celery for dinner, or dessert.

After weeks of patiently waiting, it was finally time for the new jar of peanut butter. It couldn't be me who opened it, but I needed to be there when someone else opened the jar.

Today, I don't remember who opened the jar. I don't remember the reaction. I do know that whomever opened was denied the satisfaction of that first scoop, and they knew I had won the game because my name was right there. Mr. PeanutButterVictory!

Yesterday I went grocery shopping - bought peanut butter. And there was some satisfaction when I opened it this morning as I took the first scoop. There wasn't anyone to taunt, "New jaaaar. Who's going to get it?" There wasn't any race to the jar. It was just me.

But I won the game anyway.
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