I grew up with two brothers. One things we’d fight over is which part of the couch you got to sit and watch TV.  Before my parents got a sectional, the couch had two ends.  There are three boys.  You do the math. If you’re actually doing the math, take a look at the Pigeonhole principle, this basically states that one end of the couch will need to be shared by two people.  Of course, that’s not going to happen, so one person will have to endure the hardship of watching TV on the floor. This was our version of “The Hunger Games”.

The person on the floor would basically be like Gollum…..planning on when they could get a precious spot on the couch.  If someone of the couch (“a couchie”….we didn’t really call them that, but we could’ve) got up to go to the bathroom, they’d come back to someone sitting in their spot with a giant grin.

Eventually, the three of us held a summit and we agreed upon a convention.  If you declared “Spotback” before getting up, you could rightfully reclaim your spot on the couch. We had to tweak the rules a bit, because some people started abusing the practice by declaring “Spotback” and then going to take a shower.  We eventually instilled time limits. I don’t know if we clarified all the loopholes or not.  For example, sometimes you’d forget to call spotback.  You’re halfway to the bathroom and you realize your error.  You try to get back to your spot, but Gollum on the floor has already smelled your fear.  If your hand can get to the spot before theirs, you can retain it.  But how do we know if your hand was there first or simply slid under the person? That was always a gray area we never resolved.

But the great thing about this, it’s intuitive.  The first time I declared “spotback” at a friend’s house (because I’ve been trained like Pavlov’s dog), everyone knew it meant “Don’t take my spot on the couch.”  And it was obeyed.

Did you ever come up with weird stuff like this as a kid?


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