TITLE: Feeling Incompetent AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: December 30, 2008 9:47 AM DESC: ----- BODY: My daughters received a new game from their mom for Christmas. It's called Apples to Apples. Each round, one of the players draws a card with an adjective on it. The rest of the players choose noun cards from their hands that match the adjective. The judge chooses one of the nouns as the best match, and the player who played it wins that round. The objective of the game is to win the most rounds. I could tell you many things more about the game and how it's played in my family, but there is really only one thing to say: I stink at this game. If I am in a three-person game, I finish third. Four players? Fourth. You name the number of players, and I can tell you where I'll finish. Last. It doesn't seem to matter with whom I play. Recently, I've been playing with my wife and daughters. Last night, my wife's brother joined us. My wife and I have played this game before, with friends from my office. The result is always the same. My weakness may be heightened by the lobbying that can be part of the game. Players are allowed to try to sell their answers to the judge. I'm not a good salesman and besides don't really like to sell. But that doesn't account for my losing. If we play in silence, I lose. It's not that I'm bad at all word games. I like many word games and generally do well playing them. If nothing else, I get better after I play a game for a while, by figuring out something about the strategy of the game and the players with whom I play. But in this game, the harder I try to play well, the worse I seem to do. This must be how students feel in class sometimes. There is some consolation -- that I might become more empathetic as a result of feeling this way -- but, to be honest, it's just a bad feeling. -----