Not the evening that I had in mind

So, I’m a big old fool who broke his toe earlier and has subsequently spent the entire evening in the waiting room at the hospital, along with his poor long-suffering wife and child.

But I was witness to the best game of Snakes and Ladders ever, which I absolutely must tell you all about.

Two young boys, I presume brothers, approached the king-size S&L board painted on the floor in the waiting room. Well, technically the older one dragged the younger one by his sleeve, but that’s just a detail really.

The older brother announced “Right, I’m 11, so I move 11 squares. 1, 2, 3…” and so forth until he was stood on square 11. He then moved up the ladder to 14. “…and you’re 4, so you move to 4.”

He reached across to his brother, grabbed his sleeve, and manhandled him onto square number 4.

The game continued, each turn the older brother advancing by 11 and the younger brother by 4. I wasn’t paying heaps of attention, but I was aware of the older brother when he hit the final square and still had a few steps left to take, so he backed up a few squares.

Then it struck me – to get an exact landing on the final square from 11 paces, the older brother would have to be moving from square 11. And that square had a ladder on it that led to 14. It was absolutely impossible for the older brother to win.

My wry smile turned to a grin when I realised that his younger brother was currently 4 squares back from a ladder which led to square 18. In two moves, the younger brother would land exactly on the final square.

And so it came to pass. The younger brother couldn’t believe that he had won. The older brother couldn’t believe that he hadn’t. After all, the whole game was stacked so that he’d win, right? 11 against 4? How could it end up like this.

The Snakes are a fickle mistress, yes, but do not assume that the Ladders can do you no harm.

15 replies on “Not the evening that I had in mind”

Oh, it’s nothing exciting. So let’s pretend that I kicked an old lady. One of those ones with the little trolleys that they bash into your ankles when you’re waiting in the queue at the post office.

[…] As Pete broke his toe the other night, he has been in charge of sitting in bed or on the sofa with the miserable infant, and we have all spent the entire weekend in our pyjamas, watching DVDs together. […]

Broken toe? Strap it to the next one and get one with it man, sheesh.

And you don’t break your toe kicking old ladies. At least my wife didn’t… (yes, really).

Uh, thanks for that advice, Gordon.

Patients of Dr McLean can expect a full recovery sometime before the end of 2008.

It’s true that I did not break my toe kicking an old lady. She actually used her walking stick in a blocking manoeuvre, and it is this which I made contact with.

And no, the irony is not lost on me.

And yes, it’s still a big pile of donkey doo.

But really, I can’t stress this strongly enough. Gordon’s advice about buddy strapping is good, but “getting on with it” is not clever. Admittedly, you’re not likely to die of a broken toe, but putting strain on it while it is healing will definitely prolong your discomfort and can possibly worsen it.

Can I get a medical professional in here to back me up?

Sorry to hear that. No more Old Biddy Kung Fu for you then.

Loved the S+L story. I used to play it a lot with my two. It’s really good for littlies – no skill. Like Beggar My Neighbour. But also like BMN it’s really hard to cheat – so that you lose, I mean. And it can go on for ages. We developed a much faster version, which is up snakes down ladders. Gets it over in seconds.

Ah… Bernard has no prior knowledge of the game, so if I told him that “up snakes down ladders” was the standard way of playing, he’d believe me. Not a bad idea.

Of course, as soon as he plays against someone outside of the family, there’ll be lots of confusion, and he’ll lose all trust in me, so perhaps it’s not such a good idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *