It started with the question above 13 years ago: shall we play a game? And I decided we shall. I just had no idea what it would eventually become.
Mind you, I didn’t make the game up. That was the LDB Game folks. But when Mrs. LDBC and I were living in San Francisco, a friend told us about a guy he knew who had a group of people playing a game where you had to avoid hearing the tune during the holidays. That was it.
After we moved to Chicago, my better half came home from grabbing a burrito, complaining that it was not even Veterans Day, and she’d already lost that “Little Drummer Boy” game. So I decided to see if anyone was doing it online. Aside from a page listing the rules and a couple of Facebook groups I found at the time, there wasn’t a lot. So I created a Facebook page. Then this blog.
Some friends of mine joined in. And some of their friends. I lucked into some press coverage, and after that, the growth was slow but steady.
Now it’s been 13 times that we’ve taken on The Boy. A decade plus three. And it only started to dawn on me what that means when someone said that her kids grew up playing it. It further hit home when my best friend from childhood mentioned that he and his family have been playing for years, and that one of his daughters, now 21, started when she was 10. So it’s a tradition for her. And for many others.
Didn’t see that coming.
Nor did I think we’d top 6,000 followers on Facebook. Or that more than 1,000 of them would fill out the reporting form I’m always bugging you guys about. (I only nag because it makes the numbers-gathering much, much easier—and it still takes hours to put all the charts and graphs together.)
This Thing of Ours is actually important to people. I was recently touched when LDBCer Sheryl Nelsen Hutton left this comment on a post: “The holidays are difficult for me for many reasons. The Boy—if you can believe it—keeps me sane. And gets me through. And gives me a community when I need it most.”
Every year, LDBCers post more and more LDBC-elfies, of both the losing and winning varieties. They contribute tales of woe and of victory. They make sure to warn each other of new appearances in movies and on TV.
This thing matters to folks.
That said, I want to caution people not to let it matter too much. This year, we coined the terms “preppers” and “pantsers”—the former for those who prepare their environments and outings to be as safe as possible and the latter for those who just roll the dice and hit the road. Both groups are impressive for their love of planning and their trust in luck.
But when an increasing number of people tell me they’re glad when they get knocked out because the stress is over—and even Psychology Today has weighed in on the matter—I just want to remind everyone that this game ultimately rests on a foundation of stupidity. It’s a goof. And there’s a difference between feeding your competitive spirit and making the holiday season suck for yourself out of Boy fear.
Winning is fun. But there’s no prize aside from bragging rights. And losing isn’t always so terrible because at least you get to show your agony in an Elfie and relate the details of your downfall.
So that’s my spiel, people. Please remember we’re supposed to be having fun. If you love the holidays, then this is something extra. If you struggle through them, it’s a welcome distraction.
But it’s ultimately meaningless. As silly as I can make it. Because that’s what I do, and those who worship at the altar of oddities are my tribe.
Enjoy it, please. It’s dumb. Enjoy it because it’s dumb. And as long as I’m around, the man or woman who appreciates the dumb shall never go hungry.
That said, of course, no mercy for The Boy.
Because, fuck that kid.
Oh, and before I forget, here’s one more plug for Americares, which continues to do great work in the world. As always, no pressure to donate. But should you wish to, and if you’ve got a little extra to put toward a good cause, you could do a lot worse.
Please click the “Continue” link below to see the stats, player results, LDBC-elfies, and whatnot, and I’ll leave you with that. Along with a final, “For Peter!”
Stay warm. Stay safe. Treat each other right, and have a great spring, summer, and fall.
And lest we forget…
Puh-rum-pum-pum-pum, people.Continue reading