Last week I wrapped myself up in a gloom because of a problem which will almost surely be proven to be of small moment. You know how it is. You hit a bump and it suddenly occurs to you that you’re miserable and soon it’s just you and the misery swaddled up and no room for anybody else. I thought about fishing it away, but I couldn’t get my act together. Sunday came and there was no shaking it. I lay in front of a TV set while characters from some inane marathon of cable reality programming danced idiotlike and terrible.
At some point in my family’s distant past, we established the tradition of playing boardgames on Sunday afternoons, which tradition was promptly scuttled over an acrimonious Monopoly session that is highly controversial to this day. Certain allegations were leveled, rivalries flared, and the Monopoly set has mouldered unloved in the closet since that time. The only familymember who apparently misses our Sunday boardgames is my younger boy, who lobbies every week for us to take up the ritual again. In effect, we swapped the tradition of actually playing boardgames for that of being badgered about them. On Sunday last, the boy set himself to his task, singling me out (I suppose) because I had remained stationary for a number of hours and made for an easy mark. I am sorry to say I finally succumbed not out of tender feelings, but the lack of strength induced by the dark cloud I had crawled beneath.
So we got out the RISK board. This may be seen as another setback for the Monopoly set. It seemed like the right choice for the state I was in, but I’m not going to disassemble the metaphor—what I’d been risking or failing to risk. We played for the rest of the night. I don’t remember who won every game. I sat Indian-style for so long on the living room floor, I am now a really promising candidate for double hip replacement surgery. My ass went all the way numb, and the rest of me started feeling a little better.