Monday, 8 March 2010

Life: the interactive game of spaghetti buckets.

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Life is a game and this is my take on the rules:

Each person has a bucket of spaghetti, filled with a varying number of objects wrapped in clothed disguise. Some are diamonds and rubies and nice things; the others are rotten fish and broken glass and that kind of thing.

Each player is blindfolded, and, on meeting a person, must poke their fingers (and, gradually, hands...) into the other person’s bucket, to fish around for the tiny parcels.

So what happens next?, I hear you ask. Well... We continue to rummage around in fellow players' buckets at every given opportunity, searching for understanding and light bulb moments. Sometimes, when they’re not looking we will grasp a cloth-wrapped item, and it is often unclear what we have found for a time.

When first playing the game, players are likely to trip up and mistake polished fish heads for pretty gems, as longer-term players can develop a knack for disguising the nasty bits of waste as desirable materials. It is also common for new players to plunge their hands too readily into the buckets of other players and end up with nasty cuts on the palms of their hands and in between their fingers. Unfortunately, no amount of warning can discourage new players from such reckless behaviour, as such wisdom cannot be shared, only learnt individually. It is simply a matter of time and experience before more boisterous players learn a little caution.

Over time, each new player will gain experience and learn not to make such quick assumptions about the unidentified objects, until they have had time to turn said object over in their hand a few times, and feel its edges with their fingers.

Quite soon in the game, each player will start to write a mental (or perhaps literal) list of the items found in other players’ buckets and each player will then make continually adjusting judgements of the other players, based on the ratio of fish heads to diamonds... a fair assessment, non?

Just as diamonds can disintegrate, so can fish heads (thankfully). Precious jewels can also be made (though they take time to grow and develop their own shape) and sadly, bits of glass can be broken too. Usually broken by other players, the glass ends up in the buckets of those whose glass was broken. This is a shame because then new players may slip their hands cautiously into the bucket of a player whose glass was broken by another player without knowing why there are so many sharp shards, and without knowing, it is all too easy to make incorrect assumptions about the contents of other players' buckets.

Naturally all players have different sized and different shaped flexible buckets. As such, the amount of spaghetti in the bucket may vary according to whose fingers venture into the bucket. If a player is cautious of a quick-to-judge rival player with large sausage fingers, he is permitted to throw extra cans of spaghetti into the mix, to slow his opponent down. It may also be said that if a player rather takes a liking to another, they may remove some of the spaghetti in order to aid the other player’s process of getting to know them.

And finally... I'd like to add a word of warning if I may: don’t remove too much spaghetti, because there is little left to do beyond enjoying the gems and trying to deal with the glass and rotten flesh remains, when all of the spaghetti has been sifted through and sifted through again...