Waiting on the Bus

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Posts Tagged ‘Tiddly Winks’

Rediscovering that old playground bravado Part 1

Posted by Steven on March 17, 2011

Growing up I don’t remember being envious of many obvious talents possessed by friends or family members; only being keenly aware that I didn’t seem to have any overt skills that I could use to readily earn friends within even the most obscure niche groups of people on the playground, including the group of kids that chooses to remain ignorant of, either by choice or parental conditioning, advances in technology and team sport. They are content to play the games of yesteryear . A teacher stands guard in the shadows, making sure nothing more modern than a Mattel electronic football game is allowed to be introduced into their native environment. This is where I come in and make a general inquiry.

“Hey guys, so how exactly do you play tiddlywinks?”

“You play in teams trying to propel your chips into the center pot using a squidger while squoping your opponent’s chips in the process. There’s so much more I could explain to you but it’d probably be better if you just watch Dario here. He has a killer squop shot that obliterates everybody else’s winks and before ya know it he’s totally rabbit bashing the rest of us. Show him Dario,” a kid named Reed says.

Dario, playing with the red winks, eyes a lone green wink some distance away from a larger wink pile and delicately places his squidger towards the end of the wink, angled for distance purposes. Sweat drips off his forehead and threatens to obscure his vision as he tries to calculate how much force is needed to cover the wink. He closes his eyes and fires. With a minute clicking noise the wink leaps forward and bounces up and over the green wink, finally coming to rest near the cup.

“Oh God, I talk you up like that and then you up like that and then you turn into a first class choke artist with a total feeb shot,” Reed moans.
You can’t expect to become a professional winker if you can’t learn to keep your squidger straight when you attempt this shot How many times have I need to tell you that need to fire it from a high enough angle that the wink bounces off the ground twice and lands on the target?”

“I was trying to do that, you idiot. My finger just slipped because I’m hot as an overcooked turkey in this custom made ‘Winks Club’ letter jacket that you insist we all wear. It’s 80 degrees out today!”
“My mom paid good money to have those jackets made and with yours there was a surcharge because she ended up having to go to a big and tall shop and it took her forever to find the right material for your requested Rocky Road color scheme.”

“You leave my favorite ice cream out of this or I’ll pound you into the asphalt.”

“Hey Steven where are you going?” Reed calls out “Next week we’re playing this new game called pickup sticks, you don’t want to miss out.”

Like many around the age of 5-6, my initial belief in what my strengths were came from my parents, who were always quick to point out that I already had a well defined sense of humor at a young age and could read above grade level. I agreed with them for the most part, knowing that the areas in which I could show potential in were severely limited by my physical disability. There was no childhood spent playing a multitude of sports at my parents urging, with the silent hope that I’d develop enough athletic ability to earn a scholarship to a prestigious university. I’ve always had my sense of humor and my writing ability–and that’s it.

Having a high level of reading comprehension really isn’t anything to brag about either. After the first couple of grades teachers stop caring so much about how well you’re reading, assuming of course that you’re not borderline illiterate, and the act loses its qualitative value. According to the statistics generated by this test, most people read an average of 200 WPM and stop trying to improve their reading speed after age 12, so everything evens out in the end. No one wants to watch you employ speed reading techniques to blast through Atlas Shrugged.

My thanks to both The North American Tiddlywinks association and English Tiddlywinks Association (ETwA) websites for giving me a general overview of tiddlywinks jargon and explaining the rules of the game. Between the article on squoping by Larry Kahn and An Introduction to Tiddlywinks by Andy Pervis, Charles Relle and Mapley (both of which can be found on the ETWA’s website), I was almost convinced that Tiddlywinks is engrossing and complex enough to be worthy of my time.

Nothing pushes an issue closer to irrelevancy more than a meaningless Facebook group



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