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Monday, 12 February
It's The Only Thing

Every Sunday night, the wife and I have our friend R. over for game night, and we play all kinds of games: Settlers of Catan, Wyatt Earp, Ticket to Ride, etc. We used to play mumbly-peg for a while until R. lost his thumb and stained the shit out of our carpet to boot. Anyway, we usually have a good time, because I always win.

It's not a mystery why I win all the time. For one thing, I'm fucking brilliant. When it comes to strategizing about, say, resource distribution, or planned routing of train tracks, well, I'm basically this century's von Clausewitz. For another thing, I've got heart. My heart? It's fucking huge. I've got a massive heart; it's the size of Secretariat's. You can hear my goddamn heart across the room, and it sounds like someone is playing "Tainted Love" in my fucking chest. That's why I win.

But something curious happened this last Sunday. Something downright perplexing. I lost. I lost at Ticket to Ride, for Christ's sake, and I lost to that ass banana R. I couldn't believe it, but there it was. Impossible but true.

But I figured out why R. won. He cheated.

It's the only possible explanation. R. cheated. I don't know how, but he did. Did he cheat with his brain? I wondered. He must have. He used his stupid cheating brain to beat me, and it really pissed me off.

You ever hear your mom or grandma spout off that ridiculous old saw, "Cheaters never prosper"? Thanks, grandma, you confused goddamn bat. Go back to your half-finished TV Guide crossword puzzle. What a bunch of fucking crap. And I had proof right in front of me, in the form of R., grinning like a macaque, prospering his ass off right in my fucking living room. "Cheaters never prosper"? Right. If you believe that, you probably also believed your grandma when she came up with other winners like "Suck a dick every day!" and "A slice of cheese between your knees will foil the fleas." Thanks, grandma: now my palate has the salinity of the Dead Sea and my body looks like a relief map of Mars thanks to the relentless flea infestations.

My grandmother ruined my life, frankly, until I learned that the world didn't play by her rules. I hate you, grandma, and I'm glad you're dead.

Where were we?

Oh! Right, cheating. That stupid fuck. He had the audacity to cheat me right in my own damn house. I couldn't tell if he was pulling cards off the bottom of the deck, or sneaking game pieces on to the board, or using his brain to play better than me, but he clearly was pulling some monkeyshines.

And you know? This crap has been going on for all of my damn life. I remember playing kickball in elementary school--at which I was, quite honestly, preposterously talented--and my classmates cheated all the fucking time. They weren't even shy about it. "Kurruk's up!" they would cry as I got up to take my kick. "He's asthmatic, so move in!" Goddamn cheating creeps. Insider information passed around the schoolyard like a dazed hooker. I couldn't believe it. And as if that weren't enough, the little bastards would do things like get me out by catching the ball or pegging me on the base path, cheating blatantly with their superior genetics, their stronger muscles, their faster reflexes.

Four Square? Same fucking raw deal. There I was, honestly playing the game in its pure form while the little refugees from a Dickens novel were fucking around breaking the rules. One kid always was like "Bus stops!" and I was like "Hey, no bus stops!" and then the lousy little bastard would go, "SLAM! And you're out!" while smashing a bus-stopped ball into my square and then getting his buddies to hold me down while a dog licked my asshole and I screamed for a teacher, or God, or anybody for help, and they all laughed, they laughed at me, and when they all mysteriously died a few months later after a series of improbable heart attacks--the coroner was puzzled by a spate of eight-year-olds suffering such explosive cardiac events--I didn't even feel bad. They were cheaters, because I didn't win.

I'd like to point out for the record that they never found that dog and nobody can prove anything. The point is, I survived. Me and my horse-sized subwoofer of a heart survived just fine, and those cheating little shits croaked when their hearts turned into shuddering jelly.

I'm still here. And I'm a winner. Even when I lose, I'm a winner. Hell, everyone knows I'm a winner, even when I lose to a dirty cheater, because when I do lose, I make sure to throw a fucking fit about it. When R. won the other night, do you think I congratulated him? I don't think so. "You're a filthy cheating pile of shit," I informed him. He made some idiotic wounded noises, and had the inflamed cojones to accuse me of being a poor loser. What a dick. Like I'm a loser at all. He didn't win! He cheated! "Probably with your fucking brain," I sneered at him, which left him amusingly confused, as if he didn't know how to respond.

"What is your problem?" he asked, playing for time.

"My problem is, you cheated me, you fucking Gypsy cheating wandering hairy mongrel!"

"I'm from Bremerton, you fuckup!" he stammered, trying to maintain the ruse. "I'm Swedish."

I ignored him, and in a fury, wandered out to my deck and began pitching rocks at my neighbors' windows. "CHEATED BY A GYPSY! GYPSY'S USING HIS BRAIN DOWN HERE TO FUCK ME OVER! ATTICA! ATTICA!" The neighbors rained down a hail of garbage on me after a while, as a tribute to my righteous outrage. "Shut the fuck up!" cried one person who threw down a garbage sack full of coffee grounds, presumably intended for me to pour into R.'s cheating goddamn pants. "Thanks!" I cried. I needed the ammunition.

But R. had already fled. His kind always shows yella. Beat me at my own game, will you? I don't think I'm going to sit still for that, Jethro. You fucking hillbilly. Take a hike back to Gypsylanti. My wife stared at me, wide-eyed, in what I assume was naked admiration. I won't stand to be cheated any more. I just won't accept it.

Because I am a winner.


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Comments

Fuckin' brilliant.

Comment number: 011923   Posted by: on February 13, 2007 12:43 AM from IP: 71.236.171.21

Sounds like someone needs a nap.

Comment number: 011928   Posted by: Barb on February 13, 2007 09:01 AM from IP: 75.17.127.223

Your grandma was right. Cheaters never prosper. Consider George W. He cheated to win the 2000 election and what did he get? The Presidency, which he proceeded to fuck up in every way possible, so much so that historians may regard him as the worst. president. ever. "W" will likely become a euphemism for catastrophic fuck-ups. "The spaceship W'd while attempting to land" or "In a tragic W, the nanobots ate off Mr. Jones penis instead of his inflammed appendix."

Your grandma was right about cheaters, and probably the blow jobs, too.

Comment number: 011931   Posted by: Andrew on February 13, 2007 10:14 AM from IP: 216.151.3.49

That was pretty funny and I don't think you mentioned your penis once.

Okay, so you did have your grandma talk about penises, so I guess you're covered.

Great post, Skot.

Comment number: 011936   Posted by: robin on February 13, 2007 01:22 PM from IP: 24.11.249.7

This is my son! the seven year old. If someone else wins they cheated. How many times I have given him the talk about how its not cheating if someone beats you, and how the the fun is in playing, he even thinks video games cheat when he loses a level.
Gol.
No wonder his eyes lose focus as he waits for me to just be done talking already. He's gonna grow up to be you.

Comment number: 011941   Posted by: Alyxmyself on February 13, 2007 05:56 PM from IP: 71.99.136.138

It's not as if a Gypsy-infested Bremerton is unheard of. And I've known my share of untrustworthy Swedes, so that argument is, like, not one. At all.

Comment number: 011954   Posted by: You can call me, Sir on February 14, 2007 09:30 AM from IP: 152.17.56.47

This was so funny I dried my pants.

Very good writing. Got here via Diesel for the contest. Excellent job.

Chucking featers!!!!

Comment number: 012243   Posted by: Gawpo on March 3, 2007 05:14 PM from IP: 67.142.130.29

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