Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Cosmic Significance of the “Box of Hate”

I wrote this on August 2, somewhere over the Atlantic, but am posting from Chennai, India. Will update on India soon!

For those of you who know my family, you know that I come from a long and distinguished line of smarty pants. Note that in this instance, I am defining “smart” as “capable of regurgitating mostly useless and random facts on a moments notice in a high-stress, family game-night setting.” A bit of a difference in this and actual intelligence I realize, but just go with it for a minute…

Due to this genetic prowess in trivia, we have long had a tradition of hypercompetitive games of Trivial Pursuit. I realize that this sounds like a nice, healthy way of family bonding, but trust me—it’s NOT. Let me lay out a typical scenario for you—picture my Dad routinely kicking everyone’s butts while my Mom and sister put up a valiant fight and battle over a highly respectable second-place finish. And then there’s me. I’ve always had a knack for trivia, but when it comes to playing with my family, I’m most definitely the black sheep—no match for my clever elders. And as the youngest, I’ve gotten the “petulant child” act down to a true art form. But while I am not the best loser, we should also note that my family is not made of particularly graceful winners either. Thus our well-intentioned family game nights generally turn into a perfect storm of competitiveness run amok and end in tragedy when I’ve decided I’ve had enough of losing spectacularly and respond as all youngest children do from time to time—by running out of the room in tears. And thus the game of Trivial Pursuit has become forever known by the Babcock family as “The Box of Hate.”

As one of my last nights to spend with my parents, I suggested we stay in and pull out my favorite game (and yes, I realize that the classification of this constant misery-maker as my favorite game suggests I probably have some deep-seated emotional issues). Against their better judgments, my parents warily gave into my desire to play and resigned themselves to the fact that the evening could end very, very badly.

But something changed. The universe shifted to my side and the cosmos were aligned—or I got lucky, whatever. But I WON! W-O-N! To understand the significance of this moment in Babcock family lore, you should know that my Dad has NEVER lost a game. NEVER. I’m not exaggerating. We used to make him not only get all the pies, but also answer an entire card to win. And he did it! Routinely and without fail. Every once in awhile my sister or Mom would put on a gallant effort and get close to winning, but no one actually ever beat him. I mean NEVER.

So perhaps I’m attributing too much to what was likely a spectacular stroke of sheer luck (for the sake of full disclosure I did win on a fairly ridiculous question about Grey Poupon, America’s favorite Dijon mustard). But nevertheless, I see a cosmic significance to this moment. It was like the universe was telling everyone in my family that I am finally an adult—an equal—in our family of trivia giants. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as I was just about to embark on this whole new level of self-reliance and independence on the other side of the world from my family. I know this sounds odd, but I think it provided my parents with a great deal of comfort and parental pride, after the initial shock of what had just occurred—a come-from-behind win from the perennial loser—settled in. So while it was probably just a lucky blip, I take what I can get, and I intend to tuck that magnificent moment away and pull it out when I need to tap into my confidence reserves. Because if I can win a game of “The Box of Hate” against my family, I can do ANYTHING! Bring it on world…

7 comments:

Jessica R Kiessel said...

This bodes well for your future! Hope your travels are going well. Cant wait for an update. Eat a dosa for me!

courtneyb said...

oh, I've already eaten about five dosas. YUMMMMM... Updates soon!

Christine said...

You are a fantastic writer and I'm really glad you're blogging! Congrats on your win. Big things are ahead for you...seriously. :D

Andrew said...

Hey Tex,
I got your phone message but unfortunately we were away all weekend. I hope you had a great flight and we are so excited for you. We are going to be checking you blog when we can on our trip and here is the address to ours http://globalmeandering.wordpress.com
Also you can email me at andrewckeller@gmail.com. We will talk more soon on email I just wanted to drop you a quick line. Good luck with everything!
Love,
Keller

Stephanie Folds, #2 said...

Go #4!!!! Girl power!!!! Sisters unite against the box o' hate!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe you beat Daddy!!!!! This is a truly remarkable sign of good things to come;-)

Amanda said...

ourtney actually called me that night - the night of her cosmic win over the evil forces of the Box of Hate....she said that something happened that she couldn't believe...my mind was reeling...what could it be?...what happened to Courtney right before her trip?....I was unprepared for the news and what joyous, glorious news it was. I love my father but it was time for his reign of terror/intelligence to end! (I love you Daddy!) Go Court! And yes for everyone outside of the family...we do call it the Box of Hate and yet we are strangely drawn to its powers and play anyway....

Anna said...

I love it. You are inspiring me to actually write on my blog :-)