Have you ever had the wondrous experience of playing the board game Aggravation? I actually had not, until this past weekend, but my brothers and I played the game Trouble as kids and always ended up in near fist fights, as four highly competitive, type-A personalities should never even look at a game like that.
In case you’ve never had the joy of playing, both Aggravation and Trouble consist of trying to move around the board to bring your game pieces to “home”. During the entire trip around the board, if someone lands on you, your game piece is sent back to start, where to make it even more irritating, you can’t get out again until you roll a 6 or a 1 on the dice. The dice, in turn, will now roll anything and everything BUT a 6 or a 1 while you sit and watch everyone else move happily around the board. What typically happens is that, just as you are approaching your home row and have nearly completed the journey, you are sent back to home amidst joyous laughter, finger-pointing, catcalls, and taunts. Sounds like fun, eh?
Gary decided that our family was missing one crucial component: the board game Aggravation. Apparently it’s not produced much anymore, because its price runs over $100 online. So Gary got some plywood, a ruler, a saw, paint, and other odds and ends, and he made one for us.
It turned out quite nicely, and the kids begged to play once they saw it. The older kids remember playing the game with Gary’s parents, sitting on their granny’s lap to help her roll the dice. So we settled around the dining room table for a heartwarming, charming family evening of playing the game.
Have I mentioned I hated the game Trouble as a kid, and that Aggravation is pretty much the same thing? I smiled the first time I was sent back, but inwardly I was gritting my teeth. The second time I was sent back, I started glowering. The third, I was biting back cuss words. From there, well, let’s just say it went downhill fast.
I tried. I truly did. But someone with a competitive streak a mile wide really should just never go anywhere near a game like this. Instead of Aggravation, I have officially changed its name to Most Irritating, Obnoxious, Rage-Inducing, Belligerent Crap-Ass Game Ever Created in this Universe.
It didn’t help that Gary is the world’s most obnoxious Aggravation player. He practically came up with rhyming cheers and line-danced on the table every time I was sent back, and he gloats like nobody’s business when he can actually do the honors of moving my piece back to my home row. His face lights up like a Christmas tree when he discovers he has rolled the magic number to send someone back to home, and he smack-talks, whoops, sings, and celebrates the entire time he is moving the game pieces.
In all fairness, though, it is just a game. It’s supposed to be fun. But when I started fantasizing about blowing up the game board with dynamite and spitting on its ashes, I knew it was time to quit. It’s just not for me.
Maybe I will try one more time. I will take deep breaths, perhaps medicate myself, chant “it’s just a game”, and vow not to swear, threaten bodily harm, or break the board game over my knee….but only if Gary vows not to do a victory dance every time he sends me back!