Saturday, November 01, 2008

Yahtzees and Valleys

We have a handheld Yahtzee game in our bathroom. I bought it for Tricia’s stocking a few Christmases ago, and it has lived most its life in the bathroom.

I am unrepentant about the games function. I’ve always been a bathroom reader and I don’t care who knows it. A game of Yahtzee is the perfectly complimentary length for the other business that needs doing.

But there is a problem.

When you play enough Yahtzee, especially at the solo handheld pace, you begin to see patterns. Repetition reveals the subtle but important strategies to the game, constantly angling to put yourself in the way of happy accidents, keeping an eye on secondary options in case the optimal outcome isn’t achieved.

I suppose, for better or worse, there is a metaphor in there for how I have chosen to live my life, but that is a story for a different time.

The issue here is that by finding resonances within the patterns and strategies, the game takes on the air of a gateway to the universal. It becomes, like tea leaves or candlelight or smoke, a meditative focal point for expanding one’s awareness.

But, unlike those things, it also has a win/lose aspect, a metric of success. And I use the game as my own Golden Compass, orienteering the state of my karmic pendulum, taking the measure of my luck, my ability to read and write probalities.

Which is crazy, because it’s just a fucking game.

I put my the health of my mental state into a dollar worth of plastic and circuits loaded with trademarked proprietary code. If I’m feeling down and lose, or second-guessing myself and make a poor game choice, I accelerate myself into a downward slope. And I allow the happy accidents to falsely elevate my self-esteem

All based on pure dumb luck. All based on just things as they happen to be running up against my narratives of how things should be.

Which, perhaps, places my Yahtzee play firmly alongside every other spiritual tradition. And maybe no better or worse because of it.