king me.

during my first year of americorps, i had no other choice but to find ways to pass the time, since my supervisor was too busy to assign me to do anything. mostly, i just browsed the internet (pitchfork being my favorite site at the time), but i also drew cartoons (a short-lived but ahead of its time comic entitled "kathleen's coffee") and wrote random emails to my equally bored, but actually busy fellow volunteers. it was during this period that i discovered internet checkers, which is available on windows xp. i was drawn in by the fact that i was probably playing against other slackers with desk jobs across the nation, as opposed to the all-powerful computer.

i didn't have a strategy when i first started. i'd just move my pieces forward and hope to jump my opponent's. soon, though, i learned how to force double-jumps, and my ultimate strategy was to move forward and risk my pieces to earn the king. during the post-katrina days, while waiting for clients to arrive, my checkers hobby turned into a full-blown obsession. i'd get clammy waiting for my opponent to make his move. i'd get really excited when a certain move brought the odds in my favor. i played not to win, but more for that precise moment when i knew that the game was mine.

i also talked shit. the thing is, in internet checkers, players aren't allowed to "chat." instead, we're given a select group of phrases and emoticons to write to one another. some examples include, "are you still there?" "nice move," and "king me." so, how does one talk shit if there aren't any shit-talking phrases? well, it's easy. lay on the sarcasm. when someone fucks up and gives me the opportunity to swallow two, three pieces, i send the message: "nice move." when the guy's down to his last piece, i write, "king me" and then i follow it up with a bunch of smiley faces. :-) :-) :-):-) :-) :-):-) :-) :-):-) :-) :-):-) :-) :-):-) :-) :-):-) :-) :-):-) :-) :-):-) :-)

yes, the only reason to play is to annoy the shit out of the other person who's slacking on the gig. "look!" i bragged once to a friend. "i'm totally kicking this guy's ass!" my friend rolled her eyes at me. "you're probably playing a ten year old," she said. i'm no checkers champ, though. even though i've played off and on for over three years now, i still lose my fair share of games. and even when i'm losing, i still set out to annoy the other party just as much, if not more, than i do when i'm winning.

one way to piss off my internet checkers opponent is to simply leave the game. and by "leave" i don't actually mean that i exit out, or close the application. i minimize the screen, instead. i let him sit there, let him think that i'm going to move my piece again, when really, i've left the office for a two hour staff meeting. but the real art of it is, i string him along for as long as i can. so, when i know i'm going to lose, i take my time moving my pieces, acting like i'm really strategizing, really trying to figure out how i'm going to make a comeback. that way, when i eventually leave for two hours, he thinks i'm still sitting on it for a good long while, thinking long and hard about my next move. he won't want to leave, either, because he's winning.

and we all know, nobody quits when he's ahead.

1 comment:

sprout said...

i miss kathleen's coffee, i really do.