Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Coasters, Dots, and Life

Tonight my family and I ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. Unsatisfied with the dots-and-boxes game the kid's menu had to offer, I flipped over a drink coaster, grabbed a crayon, and started drawing dots.

I am an expert at dots... when playing against only one person. When a third person is thrown into the equation, my genius strategy suffers a fate comparable to that of toilet paper. The game progressed normally, with the "playing field" eventually becoming a network of trails. This is a volatile mine field waiting for someone to draw the right line and set off an explosive chain of square-completion (I know, sounds scary, right?). My mother quickly began to collect dangerous numbers of boxes. I--as you may have guessed--was failing miserably.

I needed a new plan, and fast. Regardless, I couldn't let my mother win. "Sometimes, it becomes less about winning, and more about defeating your opponent," I said cryptically.

As soon as mother had uttered the words, "What is that supposed to mean?" I topped off the longest trail, handed the coaster to my sister, and said, "Go for it." The look on my mother's face was so priceless it could have been a Mastercard commercial.

She fought fruitlessly for one more round, but I made a final, game-ending move, handing my sister the rest of the empty squares. She cleaned up. I began to worry that my mother's face was stuck that way permanently. It was awesome. I realized it's important to recognize when it's over, and focus your efforts someplace where they could benefit someone else for the accomplishment of the same goal.

Disclaimer: This idea is a purely strategic one. The author of this blog is not responsible for any adverse effects of attempting to apply it in real life. Use at your own risk.

1 comment:

  1. As Yoda would say: "Mmmmm. Dots WELL you play young padawan."