Yarei and I have a somewhat competitive spirit. Actually… on a scale of 1 to Ridiculous, Yarei’s competitiveness would rank on the ridiculous side (although as a wife she ranks in the upper levels of amazing). I tend to hide my competitive nature with a nonchalant mask of indifference while raging inside like a Pamplona bull at the idea of losing. Yarei just uses denial: she does not lose…not matter what the score shows.
This past Thanksgiving we enjoyed some healthy marital competition in the ping-pong arena. This was our second encounter, the first of which I dealt her a severe beating. However, in her mind, it was as if that had never happened and she actually had the upper hand, simply because she was: Yarei.
When hunting, it’s always more challenging to know the prey is somewhat of a challenge, even if they are a bit disoriented, so I enjoyed this air of confidence she had about her. And so the game began.
The first match was a swift win by me. Neither of us are masters, so it would have been a rather boring game to watch, with missed hits, bad serves and trash talk that amounted to nothing… but to the gladiators in the arena, much was at stake.
“Best outta 3” Yarei said, bouncing from left to right foot, ignoring the quick ending to our 21 point match.
“ok… but you realize I probably broke the ping-pong record of some small Eastern European country with the speed of that last beating, right?”
Silence… her face like a stone statue.
Although she fought valiantly, round 2 went to me again.
“This is garbage.” she said, matter of factly. She then proceeded to turn her back to me and began some type of breathing exercise. She waved her hands up and down with each breath like an attack swan. I could only assume she was centering what ping-pong pride she had left into a new challenge.
After selecting a new paddle, she finally turned around and calmly, through gritted teeth, stated, “best outta five.”
“Are you sure about this? Aren’t you just extending the inevitable?”
“Silence, croan. Volley for serve.” she seethed, cracking her neck left then right. If she could have, she probably would’ve spit on the ground to add to the non-verbal threats.
The next battle took a different turn. Yarei was ahead by 4 points, which she announced with a viking-like yell at the end of each point. Her short-lived upswing was quickly ended by swift backhands and blistering corner serves, compliments of me. Now down by 4 points, Yarei turned to more unscrupulous methods. Each time she made a lame serve into the net or missed an easy lob shot I sent her way, she would yell, “That’s GARBAGE! DO OVER!” bobbing left and right. I was unaware “do over!” extended beyond 3rd grade playground games, but I complied with the challenge.
This new, arbitrary “DO OVER!” rule gave Yarei some extra time to try to catch up, but in the end, it was all for nothing. I had beaten her 3 games in a row and the battle was over.
“So how does it feel to be a loser?” I asked, smugly.
“I’m not a loser, Louie” she dismissed me, examining her paddle as sniper examines his gun after a kill shot.
“Oh really? What do you call the 3 beatings I just gave you?”
“I’m not a loser. I’m a winner who just happened to lose three times.” she answered with a mocking tone.
“No, that’s called losing. It’s what happened to you.”
“You’re just lucky I didn’t have my lucky pink head band. That would’ve changed everything.”