Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Snakes and Badders

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It occurs to me that this evergreen childhood game (as pronounced by my 5-year-old grandson then) is a prime example of how to prepare a youngster for the vicissitudes of life.  Can there be a more telling example of the blows delivered by fate - up one minute and on top of the world - brought down to earth and into the doldrums the next.  Even now, I dread throwing the dice, my heart is in my mouth as I move my token around the board - will I land on a dreaded snake?  The end is in sight - but so is that incredible long snake that sends the hapless player plunging back down almost to the beginning again. I sympathised greatly with my grandson as I used to watch him struggle not to cheat when moving his token to avoid the mouth of the grinning snake that was his legitimate destination. Yet the game is highly popular still with children (leaving computer games out of the equation for the moment.) It must be the frisson of excitement generated by the threat of the hugely colorful snakes and enticing ladders. Any game of chance seems to me on reflection to be pretty pointless, apart from this character-building side effect, because unless you are born lucky (I do have one such friend who is always winning things), your chances of winning are 50/50 - no skill or thought required. Perhaps it's just that I wasn't born lucky, never had a big (or indeed small) win on anything. I guess the golden rule is, whatever kind of game you are playing - don't play for money.

5 comments:

  1. I remember that game as Chutes and Ladders. If it is going to have snakes, I do think "Badders" is the appropriate pairing.

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  2. You said:

    Perhaps it's just that I wasn't born lucky, never had a big (or indeed small) win on anything. I guess the golden rule is, whatever kind of game you are playing - don't play for money.

    Oh I don't know about that. Perhaps you haven't won the lottery or a horse race but in that big game of life, I think you have won big.

    So did I.

    Chevy had a cute commercial that while didn't inspire me to buy the car, that takes money, did manage in less than a minute to inspire a sense of gratitude in me:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FEiO3xm3lw

    Fiftyodd, we are the richest guys in the world. (Guys having, at least in the US, become something of a genderless term.)

    Sometimes that which is greater than ourselves speaks to us in the oddest places.

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    1. You are so right. On reflection I have never wanted more than someone to love and be loved back, enough financial security for a modest existence and access to a good library. Of course of late I've had to add to that list: a fast and constant Internet connection,

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  3. I heard on the radio an interview of a lady who has won a dozen trips and tons of other things just for entering contests. So I am entering contests whenever I see them now. What do I have to lose? When I was a kid I won a LOT of stuff, including a TV in a radio promotion of the 12 days of Christmas, many concert tickets and just stuff.

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    1. Way to go, Denise. You are obviously one of the lucky ones. Enjoy.

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