When I was a child, my mother, an endlessly resourceful woman, would counter cries of IM BORED! by making up fun games to keep me amused. Brilliant new, exciting games that contained elements of other games that I already knew, and yet had the whimsical twist of using unexpected and comical everyday objects, replacing the mass-marketed cards and plastic figurines of the boxed games.
And thus did I spend many happy rainy summer holiday days playing games like Sock Pairs!, or The Washed Jam Jar and Lid Matching Game!, or Loot The Treasure Trove! (involving me, the kitchen table, and the top drawer of the dresser; which traditionally contained a mix of paper clips, cracker toys, elastic bands, loose playing cards of several packs, and random other crap that people would throw in while tidying).
Being a quite solitary, indoorsy child with mildly obsessive mania for organising things into piles according to size, colour, type etc etc, these would keep me busy for, well, if not hours, at least several score minutes, until I lost concentration, wandered off to do something else and left them almost-but-not-quite-done.
I was thinking about that the other day while contemplating the sock pile. While the other sorting tendancies lie mainly dormant in me – though I almost missed the train the other day when, while over-tired, I stumbled upon a large pile of my Beloveds mixed change on the coffee table and couldnt leave it until it was sorted into neat piles of currency and denomination – Ive given up on socks. Lifes too short for pairing socks, frankly.
With both of us owning a lot of black cotton socks of *slightly* different design and wildly different size, its basically impossible to find two the same flavour, texture or sex. Thus in the rush to leave the house in the morning, Ill frequently end up with constantly collapsing footpieces, and hell frequently end up with something that cuts off all blood circulation to his toes.
Anyway, I briefly considered having children, just to have someone young and impressionable hanging around that I could get to pair our socks for us. Or just breaking up with my beloved, just so wed have to sort out our socks in big dramatic, tearful ceremonies, and then just get back together again, because hell, at least wed sorted have the damn socks out.
But we decided, at the end of the day, that these were not the best ways to progress; we dont need the drama, and its a difficult reason for bringing a child into the world to explain to our more worthy parent-friends, and that, in fact, we should just sort out the socks.
So I have decided to make up a game.
We will get all the socks, his, mine, the random ones from god knows who, or where, and put them in a pile in the middle of the living room. Player One will have to stick their hands in, and pull out two socks. If the two socks they happen to pull out are a pair, they get to drink a shot of nice drink.
If the two socks they pull out are NOT a pair, they have to place the two socks in two carefully considered, separated places within five metres of the pile. And THEN they have to drink a shot of nice drink, and then they have to have a chaser as well, because being a loser is always more fun in drinking games, and it would be a shame to break with tradition.
And then Player Two has to pull out two socks, and its the same, except that if either of the socks is recognised as being the same as one of the socks that has already been pulled from the pile and hidden within stumbling distance, then you get to fetch that other sock, make a pair, have both your valedictory drink AND the two loser drinks for the other sock youve pulled from the pile, which you then hide, unless you can by some miracle make a pair from that one as well, in which case you only have the two drinks.
At the end of the game, you have no pile in the middle. This means one of two things:
a) You either have no pile of socks, because by some Act Of The God of GrownUpIsm you have all-paired socks, although youre lightly hammered.
b) You have a small pile of neatly paired socks. The other 74 are stuffed down the back of the sofa at 6 different angles. You will be finding them for the next 18 months.
Every time you find one, you have to take a shot of nice booze.
See?! Its not only the growed-up way of dealing with a problem, but its the drinking game hat keeps on giving. Even before breakfast, occasionally. Yay!