An Amusing Symmetry

So… in Sunday’s Schlock Mercenary we see Captain Tagon playing to win. He knows how important it is that he thoroughly trounce the current Pugil Stick Champion, even if he has to cheat. So he cheats, wins, and makes his point.

Also on Sunday, Sandra and I taught a class of nine- and ten-year-olds. It’s our new job in the local congregation. The lesson went well, and at the end the kids wanted to play a game. They suggested a full-body pantomime version of rock-paper-scissors (Bear-Cowboy-Ninja, I think) and I vetoed that because the last thing I want them doing is jumping around to let off steam this early in my tenure as their teacher (once I’ve established that Sandra and I control the classroom those sorts of activities may be permitted.)

But they did need recreation, so I let them play regular rock-paper-scissors. Of course they wanted to play me. And of course I realized that it would be very useful to my authority as a teacher if I won.

As Sandra records:

Howard systematically trounced all of them. They were playing two out of three, and only one time did a child win a round. When Howard was done, he stood back and said:
“So how did I do that?”
The kids all stared up at him, then one ventured “Because you can read our minds?”
Howard smiled. “Exactly.”

Yeah, that’s pretty much how it went. Only today, after reading Sandra’s blog entry on the subject did I realize that Tagon was channeling ME when he poked Chisulo in the eye. It’s not the other way ’round, I assure you…

8 thoughts on “An Amusing Symmetry”

  1. I was pleasantly reminded by Sunday’s strip that Tagon is a bad dude. Being in the role of commander of the ship keeps him out of things. It might be nice to let him out to play a little more in the coming story arc.


  2. yay for beating people at rock-paper-scissors. it’s not hard…think about what you would do given the previous plays, assume your opponent is going to do that, then counter it. generally it starts out rock-rock, paper-paper, rock-scissors.

  3. You _are_ going to hand out your proven method for winning RPS aren’t you?

    I know how I beat my eight-year old; he attempts to beat my last throw so I have to beat what he’s about to deploy. How universal is that?

    Please note that I only use this against him sparingly – most RPS games we do aren’t for serious stakes.

  4. About 70% of the time my sister did the RPS that would counter my previous RPS. Meaning I should do the one that would lose to what I just did. The other times she would repeat me and there was usually a facial expression that indicated she would.

  5. Rule by RPS

    I learned to play RPS (PSR in local parlance) quite well. In one house I lived in we played for the chores. Whenever one of us told someone else to do something, that person had the right to challenge them to a duel. The loser had to perform said task.

    I stopped playing after me and my friend tied for a half hour straight. We called it a draw and both retired. We had the entire card shop watching and cheering.

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