lotrrisk1I picked up the game Risk a few weeks ago, and my 10-year-old son and I have been playing.

The memories it brings back! I played the game a lot with my brother, and sometimes with cousins, when I was young, and it’s remarkable how the idiosyncrasies have stuck with me — buried in my memory but now unfrozen. I’m six years younger than my brother, so he usually crushed me, but I enjoyed even the grinding losses, I guess. I remember how it felt to finally piece together a region and then watch him nullify the gain by smashing Kamchatka! I remember wavering about an attack, and wondering aloud if I should chance it; he would tell me impatiently:

“That’s why it’s called Risk!”

And now I remember (and experience again) the despair of getting more and more in the hole — you find yourself looking forward to the next turn, for a  chance to reinforce with a few more armies (they are called “batttalions” in this version, the Lord of the Rings set) but then you realize that your opponent is stacking up even more battalions, turn after turn, and even with the smartest moves you’ll be unlikely to ever catch up . . . I think it may be a good lesson for a 10-year-old: you can’t depend on good luck overturning the consequences of a series of bad decisions.

And I’m also struck that my son is very good at the game. Maybe he got his uncle’s genes for it.


How to exit

despicable-me-2-shark-missleI hear so much about people being stricken by dementia and/or Alzheimer’s, and forgetting who their loved ones are; I really hope that I can avoid being a burden to anyone around who still cares about me, if those diseases are my fate.

I think the ideal way to go would be like Eduardo/El Macho in Despicable Me 2, who rides a shark strapped with explosives into a live volcano. 

Ah, but who knows. Will I know what’s going on it time to take control? Will I slide blithely into oblivion? Will my loved ones be so grief-stricken that my exit in a hospice bed in the front room would be easier on them? (Is it presumptuous of me to assume there will be anyone around who will give a rat’s ass?) Is it selfish to want to just ride a shark into a volcano, when one is terminally ill?