Friday, January 2, 2009

everything is wild...


I've never been much of a gambler. During my one time at a casino I won $40 and left with -$10. That being said, I love card games. The twisty rules, the combination of logic and luck, the suspense...plus it's a great way for shy little twerps like me to socialize with people I don't know well. Its been a while since I last played, however. I think the purchase of these will motivate the institution of a weekly game night:







I particularly like the Jack with the axe...

Here is an index of just about every card game out there, except, for some reason, Night Baseball, which is one of my favorites.

Card games always remind me of a hilarious story by the most excellent James Thurber, "Everything is Wild". It's a tale written in 1932 about a grouchy, misanthropic man and his long suffering wife who attend a card party. The cigar smoking husband entertains himself by making up his own convoluted rules, and havoc ensues. You can find an excerpt here.

If you want to read the story in its entirety, you can find it in "The Middle Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze" on Amazon for $0.95 and up. I inherited my copy from my grandmother and I just love it. Full of funny stories and one terribly sad one, "One is a Wanderer", about a lonely divorced man who lives in a hotel:

"The walk up Fifth Avenue through the slush of the sidewalks and the dankness of the air had tired him. The dark was coming quickly down, the dark of a February Sunday evening, and that vaguely perturbed him. He didn't want to go "home," though, and get out of it. It would be gloomy and close in his hotel room, and his soiled shirts would be piled on the floor of the closet where he had been flinging them for weeks, where he had been flinging them for months, and his papers would be disarranged on the tops of the tables and on the desk, and his pipes would be lying around, the pipes he had smoked determinedly for a while only to give them up, as he always did, to go back to cigarettes. He turned into the street leading to his hotel, walking slowly, trying to decide what to do with the night. He had too many nights alone. Once he had enjoyed being alone. Now it was hard to be alone. He couldn't read anymore, or write, at night. Books he tossed aside after nervously flipping through them; the writing he tried to do turned into spirals and circles and squares and empty faces..."


Wow. I went from playing cards to the nature of loneliness is one post. I need to chill out on the coffee...

5 comments:

Munted kowhai said...

This must be the saddest sentence ever: He turned into the street leading to his hotel, walking slowly, trying to decide what to do with the night.

Somehow I can relate to that. You feel like you ought to be busy, have an agenda and then its so uncomfortable to be by your lonesome self.

Mrs.French said...

The appearance of the cards alone are a conversation starter...xo t

Laura said...

Puiyi - I can relate as well. The story gets even more sad, but it doesn't make you feel bad after reading it. I guess because it has a melancholy gentleness, rather than, you know, bleak nihilism :)


the conversations around here would probably start with, "gosh, those are weird" but I don't care - I'm getting them anyway :)

lea said...

wouldn't mind having that deck of cards..really stylish. he does sound like a very lonely man...

please sir said...

Oh these are so lovely - sure to liven up any game!