The Treehouse + The Cave

The Treehouse + The Cave: Uno <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: '\x3d9561264\x26blogName\x3dThe+Treehouse+%2B+The+Cave\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3d\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3d\x26vt\x3d-2611371644715887499', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Sunday, March 06, 2005



I went to a high school with a modular scheduling system. Presumably forced on them by the one or two progressive teachers they had on staff in the late sixties, the system divided the day into 27 mods, 15 minutes each. Some classes were 3 mods long, others 4.

Each student had a several mods free each day, obstensively to eat lunch, study in the library, get a head start on the night's homework. Reality of course, meant that kids did the work they hadn't done, left campus, smoked, and hung out doing nothing.

The free mods were scattered throughout each kid's schedule, only guaranteed to offer contiguous blocks of time once a day, around noon. The rest of the time, you may or may not have had a friend off when you were. Pretty quickly, everyone knew which of their friends and acquaintances would be their buddies during any given free mod. This resulted in small clusters of kids, dotting the common areas of the school grounds.

Each loitering group had its self assigned, packaged identity and all the signifiers needed to enforce it. We all too happily made ourselves easy to identify, to hate. Dressing in a manner only superficially about aesthetics, and sitting in tight circles on ground conquered years ago by students of a similar social accomplishment, economic class, interests and musical taste.

My groups tended to orbit around conversation, as I think most did. After years of this daily routine however, even the conversationalists ran dry. We ended up learning to carry games, perfect for killing one mod at a time. Others promoted chess, then Frisbee, then hacky-sack, all of which I avoided.

The game I loved, and continue to love was Uno. It was easy to teach, easier to learn, it scaled well. Whether we numbered 2 or 6, Uno worked, and so we played, for years in the end. Sometimes keeping score, dedicating hand-gridded pages in black sketchbooks to the effort, sometimes not. Sometimes playing with store-bought rules, sometimes with our own modifications, the accompanying cards altered with Press-Type and clear laminate.

It's the game that brought me to love dominos later in life, and the game that killed many desolate hours (the only ones I spent outside the safety of the art room). It helped, much earlier in my life (next to public pools as a kid), to cultivate an appreciation for it's simple graphic design, and for the principles behind it.

I had missed Uno and not realized fully until Heather and I sat down to a game the other day. Using the same fraying cards, now yellowing, wrapped with the same rubber band, now brittle. With the same fake, hard-ass rules. We still play the way we used to; still evenly matched.

I wonder, do my fellow alums, those I see on the occasional New Year's and those I don't, still play Uno? Still assign space in memory to the games we played?

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