WEST FORK KICKAPOO - While talking in the local co-op to a friend who was down in the dumps, I wanted to remind her of how strong she was and how far she’d come. With enough gusto to knock over a barn in a windstorm, I pumped my arm in the air and said, “You're a warrusess!” Her eyes widened. I tried again: “A waaalllrus!”
After several unsuccessful attempts to say warrioress, we giggled until we thought we’d be asked to leave for causing a disturbance.
When I told Dane this story, he claimed it wasn’t even a word. “Of course it is,” I said. “It’s the female version of a warrior.”
Dane pointed out everything wrong about my word, to which I replied, “This is why I won’t play Scramble with you.”
“Scrabble!” he corrected.
Nobody likes a know-it-all. The women I know are all warrioresses (even though spellcheck keeps trying to change it to waitresses).
Refusing to let Dane get me down, I turned the conversation to games. In particular, Farkle, a dice game that I’ve adamantly refused to play for over a year because Dane always throws a tizzy over the first rule of the game: You must roll 500 points to start.
Jane:You can’t write down your score—you didn’t get 500 points.
Jane:It’s the rule.
Dane:Well, it’s dumb.
Jane:Look, I didn’t make the rule. It’s the game’s rule, like it or not.
Dane:I don’t like it.
Jane:(Eyes roll over her head and down the back of her neck.)
And on this would go, until I’d won with 10,000 points and Dane hadn’t yet started because he hadn’t gotten 500 points in one roll yet.
But recently the tide had turned. Although his heritage is Norwegian, Dane suddenly had the luck of the Irish and with his first roll got 500 points. After losing two games in a row I said, “I don’t like this game, it’s dumb.”
Dane rolled his eyes because I’d Farkled nearly 20 times in a row. You get three shakes of the dice to get the highest number of points possible. The catch is that you must always scoreon the shake. If you don’t, you Farkle and get nothing.
Jane:It says right here on the box, it’s “a game of risk.”
Dane:Define “risk,” and “winning.”
Jane:I don’t want to play anymore.
The day before New Year’s Eve, I proposed, “Let’s have a game triathlon to bring in 2021!” And so, with a bowl of shrimp and fresh cocktail sauce, we did.
We started with our old standby, Rummikub. Our gaming rules have never strayed: best out of three games wins. Dane pulled a Christmas miracle and won the first two games. He claimed it was skill, which resulted in a lively banter.
Without taking a rest we moved on to the second heat in the New Year’s triathlon: Othello, Dane’s least favorite game. While removing cats from the kitchen island that serves as our gaming table (the smell of seafood too enticing for the feline family to keep four on the floor), I captured the win.
Dane:I can’t stand this game. I don’t get it.
Dane:I don’t even like you anymore.
And with those words, as we got closer to ringing in the New Year, we started the last leg of the tri: Farkle. It wasn’t pretty.
Dane pulled away from the start with an instant 500 points, putting him on the score sheet (and keeping his whining about thatrule to a minimum.).
Used to being the turtle and not the hare, I stayed steady. I didn’t give up, give in, or throw the dice cup. Dane was over 2,000 points ahead when I started to rally. Finally, as we pulled neck-and-neck toward the winning 10,000 points, I scored big and won.
Now it was nearing midnight, and either I’d walk away with the 2020 doomsday year championship title or we’d tie and have another go at it.
Both of us were lagging, and we half-hardheartedly stayed the course. Being overtired, our sallying began in earnest: “Come on ace, show your face! Baby needs a new pair of shoes,” and “All it takes is one shake.”
Our scores had evened out, all the cats were sleeping, and the dogs were chewing their holiday bones, when wham, there it was, the last shake of the year. Five sixes and one four, giving me 2,000 points and the win.
I raised my fists and circled them to the left, then the right, chanting, “Yo, baby, yo, baby! I’m the winner! You can call me the winner!” As my excitement and energy started to wane, with one last arm pump I yelled, “I’m a warirrlus!”
After correcting me and starting a whole new debate about the legitimacy of the word warrioress, Dane deadpanned, “This is why I don't like playing games with you.”
Happy New Year to all!