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Season 7, Episode 15 -- Cribbage "Bored"

It’s 5:05 a.m., and I’m sitting here thinking about what to write. For some reason, my brain doesn’t want to crank out anything. Ideas are coming slowly, and when they do, they just seem stupid, usual or boring.

But a minute ago, I spied a cribbage board on the table across the room. This model is a simple, small wooden rectangle about a foot long and three or four inches wide, stained dark brown with steel pegs and holes up and down the length of it in four rows (two for each player) that allow participants to keep score (in “leapfrog fashion”) during the game. Next to it sits a standard deck of cards. It was left there after Will and I played a couple days ago.

I love cribbage. I learned it in college, and I’ve played it ever since. On more than one occasion, I’ve called it “the best card game ever.” If you don’t know cribbage, I won’t bore you with an explanation of how it’s played because for purposes of this discussion, all you need to know is that 1) the only elements you need to play the game are a deck of cards and a cribbage board (with four pegs, two for each player), and 2) the first player to 121 wins. Generally, a game doesn’t take more than 10 minutes. In short, it’s fun, efficient and social. (For the record, I suspect few people use any of those words to describe me.)

The thing is, as I look at this cribbage board, I realize that unlike other games (Monopoly, Sorry, Chutes & Ladders, etc.), the board is basically useless, since all it does is keep score, each peg hole representing one point. Different holes or “spaces” don’t carry instructions (like in the game of Life, where it might tell you to add a child to your car or ask if you’d like to buy fire insurance)  or allow you to purchase property or “collect $200” (like in Monopoly). The board is simply present to record progress, with each “hole” representing one point. This is something that my mind tells me can be achieved with a small piece of paper, a writing utensil and some rudimentary arithmetic.

If you’re not into cribbage, you may already be bored by all this. Fact is, even if you area cribbage lover or aficionado, this may be putting you to sleep. I’ll admit, as the originator of this discussion, it’s actually starting to lose me as well, but since we’re already halfway down the road, let’s see where it takes us, shall we?

I just went to Wikipedia (because it’s easy and let’s face it, we’re talking about cribbage, not the origin of the Universe or nuclear fission … or fusion, for that matter) and even there, they (or it, or whatever Wikipedia is) admitted that scoring can berecorded using a pen (or other writing tool of choice) and paper, but that “a cribbage board is almost always used when playing the game.”

That, to me, says people are more into the traditionof it, just using the board because that’s the way it’s always been done versus finding utility in it.

After returning from my trip to Wikipedia, I then asked myself a question common in my daily routine: “Why the hell do I care?”

This question is an important one for me because I often send myself (brain included) down useless rabbit holes that only I and potentially, my best friend/cousin Mike would dare crawl into. And by asking myself “Why do I care?” after a couple minutes or at times, several hours of quiet – or not so quiet – contemplation and speculation about the topic at hand, I can get on with my day. Mike will verify all this since we’ve often teamed up to explore such useless, inane topics for protracted periods of time to our great amusement equaled only by the sheer boredom and often disdain of those around us at the time.

Example: One night years ago, Mike, Joan (often the victim of our inanity) and myself were out to dinner. At one point, Mike pointed to a tiny pocket in my shirt and mused (not rhetorically), “I wonder what that tiny pocket is for.” For two and a half hours (not exaggerating, Joan will verify) we (Mike and myself) came up with ideas, and as soon as we had one, we’d blurt it out, interrupting the conversation at hand.

At first, Joan shared in our amusement and enthusiasm, even contributing some early ideas. But as time passed, the ideas became more obscure and the game droned on an on, we could see her progressing through what I could only surmise as the Five Stages of Grieving, which if memory serves, go like this: 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression and 5) acceptance. (Mike and I have that effect on others.)

Back to this morning. I’m now at that point, the point where I ask myself, “Why do I care?” and the answer, as it usually comes out, is this … I don’t. But it (the cribbage board) was there (on the table), I saw it, and it made me wonder, something I often do until I can either 1) figure out the reason (I rarely look it up because that’s no fun), 2) let it fade out of my head as I get on with my day or 3) get together with Mike to discuss ad nauseum(with the emphasis on “nauseum.”)

That said, I’ll say that if I was into collecting things (in my life, I’ve had only three collections – beer cans, coins and baseball cards), I think it would be cool to collect cribbage boards. Again, if you play cribbage, you likely understand why, and if you don’t play, you probably won’t understand … or care.

I could go on and on (likely for hours) on this topic, but I think I’ll wait until I meet up with Mike to discuss further. (We’ll spare Joan this time.)

Remember at the start of this piece, when I mentioned how some mornings, my ideas are stupid, usual and boring? Well, it’s over, you probably don’t care about any of it, and now, you can go on with your day.

© 2019 David R. Haznaw

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