How many of your childhood games do you play as an adult? Do you remember many of those games? There’s one I love, though I didn’t play much as a kid and don’t as an adult either — Pin the Tail on Donkey. You know the game: There’s a picture of a tailless donkey that gets attached to the wall. The player is blindfolded, handed a paper picture of a tail with a pin attached, spun around, pointed toward the wall the donkey is on, and encouraged to pin the tail to the donkey. A basic game with simple rules.,
I was somewhere between aghast and amused when my parents, and their gang of high school friends, played their own “interesting” variation at their annual birthday parties: Pin The Boob on Betty.
Betty was a picture of a big woman with, to quote my father, pendulous boobs. As with the childhood game, the player is blindfolded, handed the boob with a pin attached, spun around, pointed toward the wall Betty is on, and encouraged to pin the boob on Betty.
But, they changed the rules.
In their game, the picture of Betty wasn’t attached to the wall, it was held by other game participants so that it could be moved around as the player approached. The boob ended up attached to lots of interesting places on poor Betty. I can only imagine the gales of laugher as they played this game. Some people’s parents!
I’ve played that version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey at a friend’s party. It really is a lot of fun. You think you have gotten a hang of it by watching others, but you end up underestimating how disorienting the spinning makes you. When it’s your turn, you are as entertaining as everyone else at the party and miss your mark.
Games People Play
As I’ve thought about these games, and lots of other games I’ve played through the years, I’ve come to see they are like life itself in some ways. We are taught the rules and are expected to play by them. But, not everybody does! Calvin Ball, a game played by Calvin and Hobbes in the cartoon strip by the same name, has the rule that whoever has the ball can change the rules any time they want. Of course, Calvin excelled at that. Like Calvin, my parents may not have been cheating as much as modifying the rules to fit their needs and purpose. Rule changing can be a creative means to your end. Think about it! Is it always vital to play by the rules?
Maybe it’s vital to use the rules as guidelines and bend and mold them to your needs. Could it be that when you make your own rules that you create a situation that works for you better than if you had followed the normally accepted rules? These rules could be about social situations, personal habits, work creation, how you run your business — anything in life.
Why are work hours “8–5″? Do you have to eat “breakfast food” for breakfast? Why can’t you eat breakfast food for dinner? When is it acceptable to call people who are your senior by their first name? Is having a simple, plain background best for professional videos? Why do you save dessert for last?
When there are whimsical or practical reasons to break a rule, do it! Why hold yourself to a probably archaic or personal-preference rule when a new one could be better in your situation?
When I commuted along a road that had heavy traffic patterns at traditional commute times, I shifted my work schedule an hour earlier so I could avoid the rush.
Lunch and dinner foods are as satisfying — or more so — for me as traditional breakfast foods. And one of our favorite traditions as a kid was to occasionally enjoy pancakes for dinner on Fridays.
The relationship I had with my parents was better when I called them by their first names, rather than some version of Mom and Dad. Those names morphed into special nicknames that we all enjoyed.
The background you choose for your videos and Zoom calls is reasonably dictated by your market niche and your office space or recording location. I prefer recording and calling from my office. Officing in a yurt creates challenging background challenges, and none of my options are for plain, simple backgrounds. And, it sure fits my personality and style — so, in my humble opinion, my background is perfect — and I ignore the “rule” that says it has to be simple or “professional” (aka plain, or boring).
As an adult, I can choose to eat my courses in any order I want. And I do. Sometimes, it makes the most sense to eat dessert first and then fill in with the entree and salad — if there’s room.
Breaking rules isn’t to hurt anyone, it’s to make life more enjoyable and productive for you. As long as everyone you are interacting with (a game or in your life) is ok with it, feel free to make the rules fun and appropriate for what you want to accomplish.
Can you make your life better by changing the rules you play by? Sometimes, I bet you can.
Anyone up for a game of Calvin Ball with me?