M.E.S.S.—Sticks and stones may break my bones, but wor—HEY! Watch your language!! (part 4)


We’re continuing my epic 1-2-3 Homefree saga (see here for part 3).

For those who haven’t played 1-2-3 Homefree, here are the basics:

  • One person’s “it.” (I’ll use /It/ to refer to this role moving forward.)
  • Choose who’s /It/ randomly.
  • There’s one “safe zone.” /It/ can’t enter the safe zone.
  • If you’re not /It/, sneak into the safe zone before the game ends.
  • Anybody tagged by /It/ loses.
  • The game ends when /It/ has nobody left to tag.

Those rules describe how it’s supposed to work; however, practice deviates from theory… Here’s what actually happened:

  • John Li was /It/.
  • We chose him using our rigorous randomization method best known as “the last person to say ‘not /It/‘ is /It/“…
  • We defined the safe zone as the space behind John Li.
  • Everyone tagged by John Li just started arguing that they weren’t actually tagged…

Now, if you paid attention, you might’ve noticed the safe zone only had one physical marker: /It/—aka John Li. You might also realize the problem of a moving safe zone, especially one which moves with /It/… That pissed me off. It was so unfair. I needed to stop /It/ from moving.

I came up with a brilliant solution! Well, I thought it was brilliant at the time… The playground structure stood about a foot—at most—above the rest of the playground. I decided to push John Li off the structure; John Li took that poorly. His impressive “fouled” soccer player imitation, dragged Ms. Cloutmuther into the game. My solution backfired. I intended on winning, but I inadvertently brought /It/ outside assistance and lost the game—life is so unfair…

After assessing John Li’s situation, Ms. Cloutmuther arrived at a dire prognosis: John Li needed a band-aid and some disinfectant. Eventually, she calmed him down, sat us both down, and had me apologize to him. True, I didn’t know what I was apologizing for, but I didn’t need to. You don’t actually have to mean it when you apologize: sorry’s quite the magical word…

After I apologized, she patiently explained the secret rule that the others omitted: “keep your hands to yourself.” I reacted poorly to this injustice. I was misinformed about the rules, yet I was on the hook for breaking them. This aggravated me, so I did what any reasonable toddler would’ve done: throw a tantrum. Ms. Cloutmuther intervened before I could really gain momentum and condemned me to a timeout. What the hell was a “timeout?!” She already introduced one secret rule into the game, and now she wanted to introduce another?! The nerve…

She implemented the timeout by separating me from John Li and the rest of the class, seating me on a bench, crouching down to make direct eye contact with me, conveying her disappointment, and giving me time to reflect on my actions. She suggested I also consider John Li’s feelings. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a strategy thing. I chalked it up to adults being adults. I begrudgingly acquiesced to her requests. as she walked away to gather the rest of the headache before herding all of us back to class.

While doing my hard time, (at most three minutes…) I did exactly what she told me. I reflected on my actions and realized a few things:

  • I needed to keep my hands to myself when playing 1-2-3 Homefree. That rule might matter for future games.
  • I was sitting on a bench behind John Li—in the safe zone. Wait a second—Ms. Cloutmuther hadn’t punished me; she helped me win the game by sneaking me into the safe zone!
  • How would John Li feel? Well, he didn’t win; he lost. Losing sucks. John Li must’ve felt awful; it served him right.

She returned after an excruciatingly long time (still the same three minutes) and did that thing grownups do—make eye contact while patronizing you… You know the “I’m not angry; I’m just disappointed.” schtick… She said she “I hope you learned your lesson Roybert.” I learned a few things:

  1. I still don’t know what a timeout is, but I owe her one. I wonder when she’ll tell me…
  2. Keep my hands to myself when playing 1-2-3 Homefree; use my legs instead.
  3. John Li had an awful first day of school.

It took me a few more timeouts to realize I had missed the point, but I eventually got there…

TLDR: Toddlers and conspiracy theorists are two sides of the same coin. However, toddlers tend to adjust when given new information—they have potential.

Thank you for your time,
Roybert S. Henanigans

Note 1: I might’ve played up the indignation here to set things up for the future. Tune in 23:59 (EDT)-Friday, October 1 16:30 (EDT)-Monday, October 4 16:30 (EDT)-Wednesday, October 13 16:30 (EDT)-Monday, October 25 to find out what I’m building towards!

Note 2: I edited my next post deadline; I miscalculated. I apologize for the inconvenience/disappointment.

Note 3: I’ll be back up 16:30 (EDT)-Monday, October 25; I promise it’ll be worth the wait! I apologize for the inconvenience.


Published by justcallmeroybert


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