Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fun & Games: how I know my husband loves me

It's NOT what you're thinking; get your minds out of the gutter!

Ever since Steve and I got our first personal computer (way back in 1988 - it was DOS-based, but did have a few games, including Tetris), we've been computer-game addicts. Occasionally, this has inspired some gentle competition where we take turns beating each other's high score. More often we each find a game that tickles our fancy and we obsessively play it until, well, honestly, there are still games we haven't stopped playing.

I've been a Sims addict since the first edition of Sims came out, and I sporadically become obsessed with online crossword games. Steve has gone through a prolonged Freecell addiction and is currently hooked on DiceWars.

At the height of his Freecell days, Steve concluded that every single Freecell puzzle is solvable. (I've since learned that all BUT ONE are solvable. Google it.) He came to this realization by replaying any game he lost until he finally solved it. He became a Freecell Deity. His challenge then became to win as many consecutive hands in a row as possible.

[Hang in there, I'm getting to the point of my story.]

For weeks on end, you could find him hunched over the keyboard, hand on mouse, pondering the cards as a chess master might gaze on a chess board. So engrossed was he that I swear I could've driven a spike through his wrist into the desk and he would barely have twitched. Each evening I got a recap on how many consecutive games he had won: 30, 49, 80...

Finally he reached 100 consecutive games won.

Then one fateful evening, I came downstairs, sat at his computer and cranked up the Freecell game on his user (too impatient to switch users), blithely oblivious to the fact that MY statistics would overwrite HIS. I lost my first game. Won the next. And so on. After a while I chirped over to Steve, who was innocently watching TV, "Hey, I've won five out of 10 games in Freecell!" (For me this was a record.)

"Good for you!" he cheerfully replied. (And not in a condescending way.)

And then it hit us both simultaneously: I had completely obliterated his record. Weeks and weeks of dedication down the tubes.

At the same time as he was gasping, "What user were you on?" I was clamouring, "Oh no! I'm so sorry!" I looked in vain for a "Super Undo" button, my eyes bugging out in disbelief.

It could have gone SO badly from there. He could have yelled, "What were you thinking?!" He could have given me the cold shoulder. He could have banned me from ever using "his" computer. But he did none of those things.

Instead, we both burst out laughing, gut-busting laughing, until tears were coming down my face. And he laughed as hard as I did. Half an hour later, one of us would suddenly start chuckling. We still laugh about it.

And that is how I know he loves me.

P.S. He subsequently attained a new high Freecell score on his laptop, though I don't know if he ever beat his 100-game record. But then he decided that his obsession with the game was excessive, so he deleted the game.


  1. My dad was (is?) totally addicted to Freecell too. I don't think I've ever played. He and my sister used to have time competitions in Mine Sweeper too (both were incredibly fast). I do my crosswords but otherwise I more or less stay away from the computer games.

  2. Freecell has been my addiction for years, and Andy too. He sounds just like Steve (because I did a similar thing to him as well, not realizing what he was trying to accomplish). But he finally deleted the game from his computer too. Now he just plays it on mine from time to time (or finishes one of my games while I'm making dinner ... yes I CAN break away from the middle of a freecell game to do other things!) ~ Mary Ann


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