On Christmas Eve we played a little Apples to Apples. Cousin Kevin and I became embroiled in a competitive battle to amass all the green cards. Uncle Dick quietly and methodically just collected them off on the side so at the end the three of us were in a heated battle. No, wait. Two of us were in a heated battle and one of us was just moseying around, snagging the last green card. I don’t even remember what happened in the last round except that I lost but in the penultimate round….well, that was a good one.

The word? It doesn’t matter what it was because it was Vadin’s turn. We’ll call it “Contrary” because it’s the best word for Vadin. Vadin is 13 years old. Or maybe 12. Who knows. And he solely pick his favorite red card based on THINGS HE LIKES. He often doesn’t know the meaning of the green card OR the meaning of a red card. Picking one from your hand to give him is a crap shoot. You know he likes dogs so you’ll pick a dog but you’ll manage to pick a breed of dog he doesn’t like. I gave him the FBI once thinking maybe he would like them based on his taste in movies? I mean movies with FBI in them sometimes have car chases and explosions. But his exact words as he tossed it aside were, “I hate the po-po.”


So, penultimate round and Kevin and I have recently discovered that I am winning with 7 green cards and he has 6. Also Uncle Jim has been by to mock me for my child-hood way of throwing a tantrum when playing cards until my brother let me win just to shut me up. He’s just jealous of all the cash money I won off him playing poker when he was drunk and I was EIGHT.

The word is not “contrary” but we’re saying it is. I give Vadin “Toys”. This is the best I can do. I mean, TOYS. He LOVES toys. Kevin gives him “Toasting Marshmallows”. It doesn’t matter what anyone else gave him.

Vadin: I like toys…

Me: That’s right you do. Toys are GREAT.

Kevin: You know what else is great? Toasting Marshmallows.

Me: What would you rather be doing–sitting in a cold dark forest on a damp log watching your marshmallow burn or being inside playing a video game?

Kevin (muttered): Dammit.

I know my youngest cousin. But I always underestimate the other one.

Vadin: So toys includes video games?

Me: Yes. It includes all the toys. All of them.

Kevin: Even BARBIES.


Vadin: I don’t like [with proper tween boy disgust] Barbies.

So Kevin won that round. And Dick somehow snuck in and won the next and last one and the three of us each ended up with 7 green cards in a big old tie. Heh. I was SO CLOSE.