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Column: Playing 'The Game' with the other kids

WORTHINGTON -- I just lost the game. For anyone else playing, I apologize.

If this makes no sense, don't feel bad. It didn't make sense to me, either, until my kids explained it. Well, even after they explained, it didn't make much sense, but I'm OK with that. A lot of things they do don't make sense.

Here's the thing -- I have teenaged boys at home, and as everyone knows, teenagers are mostly bonkers. My theory is "If you can't beat them (and the law says you can't), join 'em."

So instead of dismissing their tomfoolery, I tend to join in. It's a pretty serious world out there, and if you don't take the time to have fun, why bother? I deal with serious things all day, so a little zaniness goes a long way in my world. I think having two teenage boys keeps me younger in spirit. And they make me laugh. They also baffle me on occasion and, every now and then, tell me I'm cool.

They show me all sorts of current weird things, like fun videos on YouTube or Trogdor the Burninator. No idea what I'm talking about? Trogdor is an Internet cartoon about a dragon with an arm coming out of his back. He burninates the villagers and their thatched huts by breathing fire. And there is a catchy tune in the background. Nifty.

There really isn't a point to Trogdor, just like there really isn't a point to The Game, as far as I can tell.

Rules of The Game are as follows:

Rule 1: You are playing The Game.

Rule 2: Whenever you think about The Game, you lose.

Rule 3: Loss must be announced.

Basically, the object of The Game is to forget it exists. But when you lose, you have to announce it, which makes everyone around you playing The Game lose, because you made them think of it. Then they all get frustrated.

When my oldest son first told me about The Game, I thought it was something he and his buddies made up. It would not be unlike them to do so, because they are all slightly insane. In a really nice way, of course. But then he told me about the Web site. Yes, a Web site at www.losethegame.com explains the whole thing, including some of The Game's dubious history.

The Game seems to have been around since the early 1990s or so, but no one really seems to know for sure who started it. In my research, I could not find a definitive answer as to who created it or why, but I did find players all over the United States and in many other countries. It sounds like it may have started in Australia or England, but I don't know that for sure.

"The origins of The Game are difficult to determine," the site states. "It mainly spreads by word of mouth, and its name makes it very hard to investigate."

Some people take The Game very seriously, and do things to make others lose, such as leave notes that say "You lost" or something similar around for their friends. How fun is that?

Once you have started, you just can't stop. It is silly, but so is a lot of stuff, like earned income credits or putting a sweater on a dog. I find that not enough people have a proper appreciation for all things silly.

The other day my youngest son was telling me about something that happened at school. Something he said made me think of The Game. And according to Rule 3, I had to announce that fact.

"Oh, I just lost the game," I said with regret.

That caught the older boy by surprise. Really. I almost made pop come out his nose.

"Mom, that was epic," he said when he could breath again.

High praise, indeed.