by Sheila White
(Cambridge, Ontario Canada)
Hi. I’m a senior with too much time on my hands, so I thought I was being clever when I bought a Solitaire game for my computer. The one that came with the system didn’t work properly and I ditched it.
I like the game, and used to play it when I was a kid with a pack of bent cards discarded by my parents. We called it Patience back then in England and I knew a couple of versions. Easy to win, hard to lose. Could almost do it in your sleep. And I do a lot of sleeping these days .
But not this Solitaire. Oh, no. This game came with 558 versions. Truly! I didn’t believe it until I counted them and tried some.
I mean, how could someone come up with that many? Oh, they originate from different countries, but still, assembling them alone must have been quite a task.
I thought I’d take it easy on myself by trying my friendly old Patience first, but no. Arranged in alphabetical order as the games were, Patience should be easy to find, I thought. Sorry.
Although there were 21 versions of Patience, from Algerian to Spanish, there was no British, Canadian or American Patience to be found. And none of the others even vaguely resembled the game that I knew.
However, I like a challenge and accepted this one.
Each game comes with instructions so at first the going was easy. But each one I tried frustrated me, mainly because they were too darned hard to win! What’s the good of a game like that?
Eventually I settled on one that was fairly familiar, Free Cell. On my old computer version that (too bad) no longer existed for me, I could win at Free Cell without too much brain pain. But not this one.
Early in my tests I realized that if I kept my fingers off the keys for a minute, two spots would light up suggesting where one card could successfully move to another. Aha! That was the secret of winning, I thought. After losing several Free Cell games in a row, I decided to let the spots play the game for me, and sat back.
And this is how it went:
Hmm…yes, a good move and I accept it…ah, another good move, one I would certainly have taken alone…(yawn)…okay, so far so good…huh? Why do that? Okay, I’ll go along, the computer knows best…then no! That’s reversing what you did before, you stupid game!...(yawn)…Oh, come on! Not there! YOU KNOW THAT MEANS THE END, YOU IDIOT, and I click the X to close the session.
Then I realized what I’d done. I’d yelled at a computer, just as I’d often yelled at the TV and still do. But aren’t computers supposed to help us? Isn’t that why they were invented? Obviously, the creator or assembler of this set of games didn’t know that.
And then I realized just why my old game of Patience wasn’t listed among the 585 other versions. It had lived its life in an era when the living was easy.
Nowadays, nothing is easy. Not breathing (pollution), not eating (food poisoning), not working (too stressful), not driving (too dangerous), not walking outdoors (skin cancer)… the list goes on. Why should card playing be any different?
So, does anyone out there know where I can find the Patience I loved? Or has old-fashioned patience, in all its meanings, gone from our lives forever?
But wait! What am I thinking? There must be an old bent pack of cards around here somewhere….
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