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LJ Idol: Exhibit A, Second Chance - Week 3 - What I Meant to Say

Ours is a family of card players, and many of our friends are the same. I do not remember how old my brother and I were when we first played... postcards with granny at the large wooden table in her Vladimir flat. It was a made up game in which we used the tens of postcards her and grandpa had accumulated over the years, where similar cards (either by colour or by holiday) trumped each other, and New Year cards trumped all others.

It went downhill from there. It was also in Vladimir that our uncle, father's younger brother, started teaching us to play preference (a game said to be somewhat similar to bridge, or whist, though I do not play either of the latter) when we were still in primary, to say nothing of a score or more simpler two-, three-, four- and multiplayer games we know.

One of said friends even got in trouble over cards before she started school. Her parents tried to enroll her not in our district school but in a better one nearby*, where during the interview among the questions she was one about what she liked to do best. She answered, "Playing 'fool' with granny." (A simple card game.) The interviewers looked at each other and asked what else she liked to do. "Oh, playing preference with my parents then." She was not accepted at that school. More fools they, not letting in a child who enjoyed playing a complex card game at her age.

My friends and I also got in trouble over it. We were chucked out of the library at college where we one day tried to play preference (all physicists are said to enjoy it). Which, after all, is gaming. Not that we were playing like that. No forfeit money was agreed upon. We simply liked the thrill of having do the most all the different card combinations within the rules of the game.

And this brings us to the second point. My family, myself and all the company I keep are disgustingly honest. With a rare exception of a game of mafia, we do not cheat. If someone's holding their hand in such a way that the cards are visible, they are told so. Nobody looks. When playing scrabble, we often end up helping each other build better words that do not clutter the board too fast. We never forfeit points when having to look up a word in the dictionary, either. Winning as soon as possible is not the point.

And this is where one of my online relationships turned ugly. We then sorted out the problem, but never quite continued speaking the same way as before. When playing a flash game on Facebook, it was implicitly agreed upon that it was the winner of the previous round who started the next one. Until once, by accident, the other person started a new game after having lost the one before. And I said to them something along the lines of, "A-ha, caught you cheating a bit," in English. Meaning it mostly as a joke. Yet the joking overtone of the special word we use when saying this in Russian was lost. (There is a way to call to attention someone who, for example, forgets they have hearts still at hand yet trumps the card on the table thus winning the round they should have lost in a game where one should follow suit, hearts, diamonds, spades or clubs.) The other, however, took the comment very literally. I now suspect it might have been one of their triggers. Pity.


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*In Russian towns, a number of neighbouring houses are ascribed to the same close-by regular school. This means that every kid living in these houses has a right to study in this school. They are not obligated to do so though, and the parents may apply to any other school regardless of its distance from home. Yet in this case, the school has a right to choose who of such applicants to take and who to reject for the places remaining after all the district children who want to study there are accepted.

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
kehlen_crow
Feb. 13th, 2013 12:20 pm (UTC)
ConCrit is welcome.

The older LJIers might remember part of these stories from seasons 7 and 8, yet this week's topic called for me to look at them from a different angle.

Edited at 2013-02-13 12:21 pm (UTC)
majesticarky
Feb. 13th, 2013 02:17 pm (UTC)
You're talking about "durak" , right? My grandma taught that to me as a kid, but I've forgotten how to play. I need to look up the rules for it and see if I can figure it out. I really like cards games in general and I like to teach my friends new ones. I like trick ones the best. Spades is probably my favorite, mostly because I can't figure out Bridge and I need someone to teach that to me XD.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 13th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, that one. I think it was also my granny who taught us :).

Do you know what its English equivalent is? The online dictionary I usually use (Multitran.ru) failed me there, and I did not have time to search online.
majesticarky
Feb. 13th, 2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
There is no English equivalent, as "durak" is uniquely Russian. I guess it's kind of a mix of standard trick games and the game "war" maybe, but that would be too confusing to describe. The way you described it was just fine. Non-Russians won't know what game you're talking about, but it's probably better the way you wrote it than describing the game in more detail .
(no subject) - kehlen_crow - Feb. 18th, 2013 11:40 am (UTC) - Expand
phoenixejc
Feb. 13th, 2013 04:12 pm (UTC)
Sucks that your friend misinterpreted that.

I do love to play cards. I should learn more card games.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 13th, 2013 06:32 pm (UTC)
Does you wife like to play as well? If so and if one day I get a chance to visit, I might (start) teaching you both preference. Or you teach me something :D
phoenixejc
Feb. 13th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, she loves to play too. We're also big board game people.

We'll be happy to learn from and teach you!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - phoenixejc - Feb. 14th, 2013 08:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
kehlen_crow
Feb. 13th, 2013 06:33 pm (UTC)
By the way, given that I did modify the phrase in some way (don't remember the exact wording, but I tried to show it was meant as a joke), does it sound rude to you?
phoenixejc
Feb. 13th, 2013 07:30 pm (UTC)
It didn't sound rude to me, but I don't ever take things very personally.
(Deleted comment)
kehlen_crow
Feb. 18th, 2013 11:43 am (UTC)
Yes, unfortunately, it is a problem.
myrna_bird
Feb. 13th, 2013 05:04 pm (UTC)
I love card games but can't find others who want to play. The grand kids are interested in hand-held devices now that they are beyond Old Maids and Go Fish. It is too bad your online player friend did not understand what you meant. It was a very good use of the prompt!
kehlen_crow
Feb. 13th, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you :).

My father is like that, he knows a lot of card games, but prefers his papers or the telly, and most of the best ones require three players! So we sometimes get together with that friend who was not accepted because of preference. And play it! It is not often though, for she has to small kids who need attention first.
(Deleted comment)
kehlen_crow
Feb. 18th, 2013 01:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, especially when you have to go somewhere by train :).

Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
kehlen_crow
Feb. 18th, 2013 01:28 pm (UTC)
You should, it is very much fun.

Recently, we did one for my friend's birthday, at an anti-cafe. Do you have those, where you pay not for the food you order but for the time you spend there, and they provide some tea and snacks. And board games, too.

Thank you!
whipchick
Feb. 14th, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
I'm always fascinated by the way languages convey subtle meanings that are lost in translation.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 18th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
So am I. Unfortunately knowing better fitting expressions in a different language is a double-edge sword sometimes.

Thank you!
jem0000000
Feb. 17th, 2013 08:15 am (UTC)
My family plays more board games than card games, but our favorite game is probably the card game Uno. We play it almost every time we're together. :)
kehlen_crow
Feb. 18th, 2013 01:26 pm (UTC)
I have not heard of it, but I like playing cards with my friends, and have recently started to corrupt one of them into playing preference :).

Thank you!
comedychick
Feb. 18th, 2013 02:22 am (UTC)
Our schools where I grew up in Australia are set up with neighbourhoods in mind, too.

It also sounded to me like your friend took what you said the wrong way. It might've been one of their triggers, something from the past affecting them, or maybe they were just having a bad day. It can sometimes be hard to interpret meaning over the Internet, even without having to translate from your native language.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 18th, 2013 01:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, especially if you do not know the other person too well, and we did not then.

At least this situation taught me to be even more careful when I try to joke.

Thank you!
cacophonesque
Feb. 18th, 2013 01:25 pm (UTC)
This was fun... I should play more card games. I loved them growing up, and a couple years ago my neighbors taught me to play cribbage during a power outage. Cards are fun, because they're relatively inexpensive, they're portable, and there are countless games to be played with a single deck. Pretty amazing, actually.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 18th, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
Very true. Unless you play for large amounts of money, of course.

Mum told me a funny story about they went to a skiing camp once with her two friends and were playing preference, when a guy showed up and asked if he could play with them (it's a game for either 3 or 4 players), for some small money for he lacked about 2 roubles for the return ticket (something like 15 dollars in today's money). So in 3 nights he made the 2 roubles he lacked, and they played for 1/100 kopeek a point, which meant he was Very Much Better than they (and won 20 000 points, when a standard win is no more than 200 a round). :)

Thank you!
fourzoas
Feb. 18th, 2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
We play loads of card games with our friends--great and cheap entertainment! Your entry brought a smile to my face and good memories to mind!
kehlen_crow
Feb. 25th, 2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
halfshellvenus
Feb. 18th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of forming a card game out of postcards-- and why not?

My dad was very big on Pinochle when I was growing up, though I suspect the rules were slightly different each time we played (in chunks of time 8-12 months apart). My dad still hasn't learned to ever read the instructions before doing anything-- which would be okay, if he had any intuitive sense of machinery, say. He is the classic parent who cannot program his VCR/DVR machine.
kehlen_crow
Feb. 25th, 2013 06:04 pm (UTC)
The preference game I mentioned has very many different variations, so each time we play in new company we have to have certain rules agreed upon first, but that is part of the fun.

Thank you!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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