Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dueling Tiles

At least once a week I’m on the phone with our friends who moved into their 55+ development in Georgia around the same time as Hubby and I moved into ours in Boynton Beach. We constantly compare notes about our adjustments. This week we both discussed the root of many conflicts in both of our developments. What are they? Hold onto your hats—Mah Jongg, Poker, and/or Canasta.

How? Well, it’s like this. If the men are playing poker for money, now and then they play with a sore loser. If the winner's wife is friendly with the wife of the sore loser, then expect a strain in that relationship. And if both poker players were once part of the same social click, then their group is going to have to make big decisions as to which couple they will go to the early bird special.

My favorite game, Mah Jongg, causes problems too, especially if you are playing with someone who hasn’t improved since the day she graduated the Mah Jongg Academy—and even worse, the player is a close friend or your daughter’s-in-law mother. I mean, no one wants to take a chance and hurt someone they care about. Still, few players want to sit and drum on the table while one person spends ten minutes trying to decide what to throw. The problem then becomes, “What to do about Mary?”

Since the other 4 players are chicken to come out and politely tell Mary she needs to return to Mah Jongg school, the better players drop hints like repeating, “Whose turn is it?” every minute. Some people would hear the frustration of the other players in their voices, realize the game isn’t for them, and bow out. Sadly, bad players are also bad at taking polite hints. They don’t even notice the other players rolling eyes, pinching each other under the table or even playing hangman on a piece of scrap paper while waiting for her to discard a tile.

So, when the hint fails, and the bad canasta or Mah Jongg or Bridge players don’t exit graciously, the problems in Seniorville begin. In both my friend’s development and mine, we’ve been told that asking someone to drop out of a Mah Jongg or Canasta game because their slow playing is driving all the other players bonkers can begin a Hatfield and McCoy feud.

Now, since no one really knows what started that infamous feud, I have a question. Did researchers check to see if either of their wives every played Mah Jongg or Canasta with each other?

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