Since the beginning of time, someone always had to go first. “Ladies before gentlemen,” “Age before beauty” and on the Titantic, “Women and children first.”
The same thing is true when you play any kind of game. Someone has to go first. When I was little, I always got away with going first when I played with my brother and sister.
“I’m the oldest. I get to go first.”
End of discussion. They never once told me it was unfair. My mom taught me how to play chess when I was very young because I was hyper and needed to learn how to concentrate and stay on task. Or she just wanted to play chess. But, she always let me go first too. So, in our household, Vickie went first.
Well, once you venture out of your own backyard, the rules change. I couldn’t use “I’m the oldest, I get to go first” because several of my friends were older than me. This put me in a quandary. I was a tad bit OCD to begin with, so there has to be some sort of order to our childhood game madness. Who the hell is going to go first? What chaos this would ensue. Someone suggested ABC order. ABC order? First name or last name? Who gets to choose? It would usually be the person who’s name is Ashley Anderson or something like that. Um, no. That would put me in the middle. I wanted to be first. Some one then said,
“How about Eeny Meeny Miny Mo?”
Well, that might work. We all stood around in a circle. The person who suggested it, got to start it. Now, you have to understand that it was the early sixties, and we didn’t know any better. Our chant was taken from a popular version that American school children had been using since the 1880′s.
Eeny meeny miny mo
Catch a nigger by the toe
If he hollers, let him go,
eeny meeny miny mo
A couple years later, out of nowhere, it was changed to “Catch a tiger by the toe”, which makes absolutely no sense. Politically correct, yes, but I guess you wouldn’t catch a black person by the toe either. I would like to know where our parents were and why they didn’t suggest another rhyme. I would cringe if I heard my children chant that. But, again, the 60′s were a different time. But, back to the tiger fiasco. My friends tried to use tiger with “tail,” but you couldn’t say tail because then it would have to be eeny meeny miny mail, catch a tiger by the tail or something like that. It would HAVE to rhyme. My OCD raised its ugly head. Rather than argue with me until I won, someone then suggested playing “Rock Paper Scissors.” I balked at the idea. Mainly because I had never heard of it before, so therefore, um…no.
But that didn’t mean I didn’t have to listen to how it is played. A clenched fist means “rock.” Two fingers out means, “scissors.” A flat hand means “paper.” Apparently on the count of three, you put one of them out in front of you with your opponent.
The objective is to select a gesture which beats that of your opponent:
- Rock breaks scissors, so rock would win.
- Scissors cut paper: scissors defeats paper.
- Paper covers or captures rock: paper beats rock
I had only one response, mainly because I just didn’t listen. I would never have remembered it. It just didn’t make sense..scissors, rocks, paper.
That night when I went to bed, I started thinking about ways people can go first. OCD like. My dad and grandpa always had a way to see who goes first: coin tossing. They would simply take a coin out of their pocket and each would yell “heads” or “tails” and then flip the coin. But, they both fooled me for several years with a particular coin tossed they used with me.
“Okay, Vickie.” He’d take the coin out of his pocket. “Heads I win. Tails you lose.” And he would toss the coin. I never ever won. It takes me a while to figure things out.
When my mom and I would play Yahtzee or Bunco, we would roll the die to see who would go first. Highest number on the die would go first. I thought that was fair and square. In Scrabble, the highest number on the tile would go first. One time we had to keep drawing because we kept drawing the same number. Then we switched to whoever drew the letter that came closest to the front of the alphabet. That worked better.
A much longer way to choose who goes first is by playing “One Potato.”
We would stand in a circle and hold our fists thumbs up in front of us. The leader would hit her fist on each of our fists while chanting. If she hit your fist while she said, “More,” you would be out. This took forever, but elimination games were fun, even if it was to see who went first.
When we played with jacks, we used a method called “flipping” to see who would go first. One would place the jacks in cupped hands, flip them to the back of the hands, then back to cupped hands. The player who holds the most jacks goes first. That person would get to scatter the jacks on the floor and begin play with “onesies.” How did jacks lose its popularity? It was a great game.
In chess, white is supposed to go first. Well, who the hell decides who is white? This could take a while.
In the neighborhood and out at the baseball fields where my brother played Termite baseball, I used to watch the boys use a baseball bat to decide which team bats first. The team captains gripped the bat, starting at the bottom, and took turns climbing hand over hand until one of them ran out of wood, thus deciding whose team batted first. I liked watching that. It would have looked stupid if they did “Eeny meeny miny mo.”
Now that I am in my mid-fifties (sigh), I kinda like the “age before beauty” scenario. But, I guess that would go back to “I get to go first. I’m the oldest.”
So, again, I get my way.