Those of you from the South know that I am not making up random numbers to title my blog. Forty-Two is a game. I didn’t realize that it was also called Texas Forty-two, or The National Game of Texas–but I am not surprised. Forty-two is played with dominoes, and it has a little bit in common with Bridge, because the person who wins the bid chooses trumps. It has a little bit in common with Spades, because it’s a lot easier to learn than Bridge, and it is generally a fast and furious fun time.

Monday night, we had a couple over for root beer/Coke floats and Forty-two. I wound up partnering with the male half of the couple, and We Wiped The Floor with our respective life partners. First game wasn’t quite a skunking. They won one hand. The second game was neck and neck, but my partner bid two marks (we’re not purists who actually count up the points in a game–if you win a round–one shuffle–you get a mark. Period.) and I helped him win it. It’s always more fun when you’re winning.

It was fun finding a new family who plays Forty-two. In our families–both the fella’s and mine–you learn how to play Forty-two at least by the time you turn 13. It’s possible to learn it as young as 10, but really, you’re not ready for the cut-throat strategizing, or counting the spots and remembering what’s fallen–and all the bazillion rules and variations on rules and ways to bid and make a bid–until you’re around 13. I have many, many memories of family Forty-two tournaments.

Once, when I was in high school, we had gone to Yellowstone Park for a weekend, and after dark, we needed a game to play in the cabin we were renting. I don’t think the sisters were old enough yet to be in the Forty-two game, but my brother and I had learned. Except we didn’t bring the dominoes. So we went over to the Old Faithful gift shop to buy some. And the only dominoes we could find were in a travel set. Instead of the nice 1-inch by 2-inch playable dominoes we had at home, these were about 1/2-inch by 1-inch, without much thickness at all. See, you have to set your domino hand up on their edges so nobody else can see them, because it’s really hard to fan a set of seven dominoes. But these travel-sized things were so narrow, they kept falling over, so everybody could see who had the double-five or the six-four. (Which is bad. Take my word.) We eventually wound up holding them in our hands. These were small enough you could kind of line them up on your palm and see them okay, and keep everybody else from seeing them. I remember laughing a lot that night.

There is usually a lot of laughing during Forty-two games. There is also a fair amount of fist-shaking, and name-calling. (You gunky! is a popular one.) When the middle sister had finally achieved the proper age to be taught how to play, I remember that the brother had just learned a new word: Renege. And so, being an obnoxious teen at the time, he kept accusing everybody–especially the sister–of reneging. Of course, she had never heard of the word, and had no idea what he was accusing her of, and–being a touchy pre-teen–quickly grew offended. So the next time he spouted off “You reneged!” she came back with “Well, you bedogged!”

If he was going to make up insults, so was she. We still accuse each other of bedogging.

I really like to play against my father-in-law, though it’s not quite so much fun to play as his partner. He has this not-so-good habit of bidding on his partner’s hand. Or on, well–nothing. Just because he hasn’t had a chance to bid in a while. And this is despite the fact that there is no such thing as a re-shuffle. If the bid goes around and nobody bids, the shuffler (there is no deal, each player has to draw their own dominoes) HAS to take the bid. He hates the force bid–but he’ll bid on nothing anyway. Makes him easy to set.

I have more Forty-two stories. But I think that’s enough of a riff on dominoes for today. I love dominoes. The world would be a better place, I think, if more people played Forty-two, and learned how to call each other gunky and bedogger, and still be friends.

Oh. I wrote 2.5 pages Monday, 4 pages yesterday, and 4.5 pages today. Not bad.

And I think I’m going to (maybe) try to “walk to Rivendell” which is 458 miles. Which will probably take me better than a year. I did about 2 miles today. With the dog. Exhausting.

One Response to Forty-Two

  1. It took me … about 9 months, I think, to do the Rivendell part of the walk. yay! You should do it! It’s very fun! :)

    42 sounds fun too. :)


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