Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Rock, Paper, Scissors, SHOOT

I'm aware that Rock, Paper, Scissors is hardly more than a game of chance. I know this. I'm not under the impression that a person benefits from experience in this or that it's possible to be particularly skilled at the game.

Rock, Paper, Scissors is basically as complex and random as a coin toss.

Maybe a super genius has figured out a way to read an opponent's mind. But I doubt it.

It's a game of chance.

I know this.

The only way to effectively use strategy to win the game is to cheat, by adding new rules. Like Jared Dimick did to me in the second grade when he introduced "bomb," which looked like the rock, but with the thumb extended, and which "beats everything."

And I accepted this. And lost Rock, Paper, Scissors against Jared Dimick every time we played. For a year.

Yeah, I could have used bomb against him, but I was a RPS purist, enough so that I was willing to lose for my beliefs.

So yeah. I'm aware, that apart from adding new rules or otherwise cheating, it truly is just a game of chance.

And yet, the moment I found out that Skylar and I were going to be in a Rock, Paper, Scissors competition with 80 people, I instinctively said under my breath, "he's going to win."

I said it, because Skylar always wins this stupid game of chance.


You would think that, considering his track record, I would have stopped proposing that we use the game to decide who has to take Duncan out or do the dishes or call a service provider. Skylar always wins. And I always have to do the terrible thing.


Sometimes I insist that we go "two out of three" to try to give myself some extra opportunities for vengance. Every time he goes 2-0 and we don't bother trying for a third.

I have had hundreds of experiences with him like this. I have the data to back up my irrational feeling that Skylar is good at this game of freaking chance.

So that's why, when at my work retreat over the weekend, I muttered that Skylar was going to win right after someone from my firm said we were going to play this silly game to win some prizes.

The prizes were good, by the way. There were some speakers on each table and the winner from each table got to keep those.

Then there were some grand prizes. An iPad. A Nintendo Switch. And a very nice, 4k, large. smart TV.

Obviously the last one on that list is the best prize. Right? We all understand that? Just in terms of sheer monetary value, that was the best prize.

The game started. It was meant to be a quick and mindless activity used as a slightly more creative way than a raffle to give these prizes away at a party.

I'm sure that the administrators at my firm thought this was akin to a raffle, anyway. Mostly because they have no idea that Skylar has a track record.

It surprised me, not at all, when Skylar quickly eliminated every opponent from our large table.

He advanced on to the finals with the 8 or so winners from the other tables.

I nodded as he walked to the front of the room, well aware that he was going to win the whole thing.

He sent several adversaries back to their seats.

I nodded at the confirmation of what I already knew would happen.

And then the president of my firm waved his hand at the prizes from which Skylar could choose, and he told him to pick one.

Remember how we are all completely aware that the TV was the most valuable prize? Remember how that was totally obvious?

I literally screamed "NO" as Skylar quickly picked up the Nintendo Switch, a smile on his face, like he was a ten-year-old boy at Disneyland.

People gasped.

He walked back to the table, with a bounce in his step.

Hyper RPS proficiency is wasted on that man.

On some mountain at my work retreat. 

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. This made me smile, a lot. Skylar can I come over and play nintendo with you?

  2. I believe some people are just born lucky. Maybe Skylar is one of those people.

  3. I once won a Rock Paper Scissors tournament.

  4. Can you back me up on something real quick? My husband calls this universally well-known game "Paper Scissor Rock" and cannot be convinced that this is not its name. Support me here: that is not what it's called! Everyone else in the world knows that the English name for this game is Rock Paper Scissors, right?

    1. Was he raised in CA? We called it P-S-R growing up, and it wasn't until I was an adult and moved out of state that I heard it called -R-P-S. I like it much better that way.

    2. We called it "Scissors, Paper, Stone" when we were growing up. When I went to high school and some kids called it "Rock, Paper, Scissors" it blew my mind!

    3. I was just watching an interview Keira Knightley did, and she called it Paper Scissors Stone, which I thought was adorably British. (She and her husband did it to decide which football club their daughter would be a fan of since they like rival teams. She lost.)

    4. Until I reached college, I'd only ever heard it called "Paper, Rock Scissors." There was even a computer game with that very title that we played in Computer Lab all the time. It shook the very foundation of my world to hear not just one or two people call it something else, but EVERYONE. What if everything I grew up with was a lie??

      Also, I know two people who are crazy lucky. My friend wins the grand prize for just about everything and even shyly says she will before they start pulling tickets or calling numbers or whatever. My cousin's husband wins every raffle and bingo and cruise and whatever else you can think of that involves absolutely no skill. It's crazy!

    5. No one else knows it as roe sham bo? That’s what we called it growing up?

  5. Never laugh at your significant others decisions - remember that you are one of them! He probably just wanted to bring back nostalgia from your time as an extremely young child.

  6. It hurt my head to read it the way your husband says it. I’ll back you: it is 100% Rock-Paper-Scissors!

  7. We LOVE our nintendo switch but yes I would have also opted for the large 4K TV.

  8. Rock, Paper, Scissors is not a game of chance. It's a game of psychology and game theory, in which the person who is best at predicting patterns of human behavior will win. Here's a WikiHow article about it that has lots of good tips. It's long, but if it saves you the trouble of doing the dishes, I think it might be worth it: https://www.wikihow.com/Win-at-Rock,-Paper,-Scissors

  9. Umm... what about Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock?

    1. I walk away from the people who want to play this variation. I guess I'm a RPS Purist too.

  10. Ooh, I'm really curious now, was this weekend retreat at Heber Valley Camp by any chance? I was there one weekend in mid-September, and a lady there started telling me how the next weekend would be their last & it was a big group of lawyers coming up.

  11. I have always known it is called "Rock Paper Scissors" but I am one of those people whose brains get twisty and so I admit to sometimes calling it "Paper Rock Scissors" and even as I say it I know I am wrong, but that's my life. ALSO just wanted to let you all know I AM STILL ALIVE. Because I know, you've worried about me. It's just... no one warned me that college came with HOMEWORK and TESTS and STUDYING. (kidding, I love it.)

  12. Scissors beat bomb. It cuts the wick before the bomb has a chance to blow up. You need to challenge Jared to a rematch.