I don’t know how you rang in the New Year, but I was dropping bombs and waging war. I know what you’re thinking: why not just make a few resolutions that will go belly-up by February and eat black-eyed peas like the rest of the population? Why spend the evening trying to draw a bead on someone else’s submarine when I could be drinking the last of the eggnog? The only reason I can offer you is because I am competitive to the point of needing a prescription and because I couldn’t stand the thought of losing to a six year old with an uncanny ability to sniff out my destroyer. If I was going down, it’d be with torpedoes blazing.
Battleships was one of many games I played with Timothy during my three day stay. With his parents out of town and his big brother off to deliver pizzas, I felt compelled to do something with the little tyke that would drag him away from a TV screen before retinal scarring set in. So we played Sorry!, Connect 4 Toy Story style, and even Tri-Ominos, but once we set up our plastic ships and the white and red pellets started flying, I knew I’d met my match.
“D3,” Timothy said in a voice that was almost as high as his hair. He’d been tossing missiles my way for some time, and he’d finally flushed out my carrier.
“Hit,” I said, as he gave a modest exclamation of triumph and I added a red pellet to my ship. “How about G8, Tim?”
He scanned his ocean and replied in the negative. “You sure are getting a lot of misses.”
“I am indeed. Your turn.”
Sigh. “Hit.” And another red pellet to an already bleeding ship. “H4?”
“Miss.” He fished out another white pellet and let me know for the third time that he was running short on Caucasian pegs. “That’s because you’re getting a lot of misses,” he clarified.
“You’ve said that before. A few times, in fact. Now call your shot.”
“Hit and sunk.” He was an entire ship ahead of me, and if I didn’t find that dinky patrol boat of his soon, this war would be over, and I’d be an occupied nation under a dictator who demanded eggs for breakfast and thought bathing was an optional activity. “J7.”
“Miss. You sure are getting . . .”
“Yes, Tim, I know. Now make your call.” At least he still need to locate my submarine, so I had time to redeem myself.
Make that had time to redeem myself. “Hit.”
He did a chair dance and three nuclear weapons later, it was all over but the fallout. As I sat surveying the board with my head in my hands, I could see how he had craftily hidden his patrol boat in the backwaters of the southeastern quadrant, but that still didn’t explain how a kid with little more than a handful of birthday digits under his belt and even fewer cuspids came equipped with such devastating military prowess. And watching him race around the room and then fling his slender body headlong into an oversized pillow reserved for their dog did nothing to shed enlightenment on the subject. So as I packed up the pellets and secured the ships in their self-contained oceanic boxes, I decided this was just a matter of you win some, you lose some. Tim understood this premise perfectly: you win some games; you lose some teeth. This is life and you might as well enjoy yourself along the way.
© 2014 – Traci Carver