It starts innocently enough.You are experiencing the tedium of the afternoon, restlessly wishing the ticking second hand on the clock would just only tick faster, though you’re not entirely certain why you might wish for this to occur, as not one single thing will be different by dinnertime, and in fact, there is a good chance you will feel worse when dinnertime does come, because dinnertime is in the future and more of your life has been wasted and thrown away in the future.Nevertheless, you wait, and you begin to feel the anesthetizing languor take hold.In order to combat this sensation, you start a game of spider solitaire.Your father loves this game, and you love your father, so you play the game.It is more challenging than regular solitaire (a game for neophytes), and when you win, you know your father, sitting in Miami in his tropical print shirt, is psychically proud to have had a hand in raising such a brilliant child.
You defeat the game five, six times in a row.I am a genius, you think.And then you lose.It’s obvious you were not fully invested in that particular game.You were distracted, otherwise you would have won.It is possible to win every game of spider solitaire, and someone of your faculty would never be trounced by a silly card game.You play again, and lose again.What’s happening? you wonder, and your father’s psychic pride turns to disappointment.Never having been one to surrender at a low point, you attack the game with the determination of a winner, because that’s exactly what you are – there’s nothing you can’t do, nothing you can’t accomplish, and you prove that when you are once again triumphant over the game.
You have dinner.You’ve earned it.
On the way home, you choose to play the game over speaking to your friend, who has been kind enough to both chauffeur you and accompany you to In-n-Out Burger.You know this is rude, but what does your friend expect?It’s not as if you’ve gone to a five-star restaurant.This was not a formal affair.And in the event that it had been, this is still your friend and he must understand that you are who you are, and he is not merely friends with the good parts of you, but also the bad, and if you choose to ignore him in order to play a game of spider solitaire on your phone, he still must accept you, despite your many deficits in propriety.In Miami, your father would approve – it is more important to achieve intellectually than to fraternize mindlessly.You have made the right decision.You win the game three times during the drive home, and repeat the words “yeah,” and “God, me too,” and “totally,” and “that’s stupid,” to your friend as he speaks and you ignore him.
You continue playing this game.You play it when your alarm clock goes off.It helps me wake up, you tell yourself.You play the game when you are stopped at stoplights.You play the game any time you have even a single moment free.You win, usually, but sometimes you lose.These losses appear to be far more significant than any of your victories.Upon realizing you have run out of moves, you experience a wave of anguish, and the loss suddenly represents a pattern in your life, which had conveniently gone undetected until the loss.I am a loser, you think.This is symbolic for every other aspect of my life.Nothing ever works out for me.I should kill myself.This is ridiculous, of course, but you abandon yourself to this self-pity until you win another game, at which point you remind yourself that you are so extremely powerful and brilliant that you can turn around even the stubborn fact that is the misfortune in your life, making lemonade out of the most rotten, decaying of lemons.Shhh, you tell yourself.Shhh, you are in control.
It takes another couple of months of playing spider solitaire before you realize that you are absolutely not in control.You catch yourself playing spider solitaire in your head – there are cards flipping in your brain, you are organizing by suits.Eventually you create a language out of the potential moves and strategies in spider solitaire, and every emotion, every thought you have, is now expressed internally through the language of spider solitaire.You are now forced to weigh the pros and cons of having created a complete language out of a card game, something your father would likely find fascinating and impressive if he actually knew you’d done it, which he doesn’t, because you haven’t told him, and being consumed every minute of every day by the flipping of cards and the organizing of suits, which has created a mess of vociferous noise inside your brain, each card hollering at you, keeping you from focusing, working, interacting, sleeping.
You discover that, using all you have within you, the mental spider solitaire can be contained.It is a matter of energy at this point; this challenge becomes more difficult in the weary hours of the night.Your dreams are still written in the language of cards, because you cannot actively fight against the compulsion while you rest your exhausted mind.Because you are spending yourself during the waking hours, engaging in the battle against your new language, your friendships suffer.You can no longer communicate with humans anyway, unless they offer nothing but pleasantries.In becoming a master of spider solitaire, achieving this higher level of intellectual functioning, you have become a fruitless interpersonal blob, rendered incompetent even in effortless conversation.
Spider solitaire has ruined your life.You blame your father.