Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When Geeks Talk Trash

On XBox live, you have a "rep". You can see mine there to the right on my's represented by the little stars. Now, it looks like I have a 5-star rep (which is the highest), but on my console, I can see that that 5th star is not completely full. You see, you can "prefer" and "avoid" players. If people prefer or don't rate you, you gain star value. If people avoid you, you lose star status. Worse, it shows you what percent of players have avoided you, and why. You can avoid people for using bad language, quitting out of a game early, having no skillz, etc. So I know that 12% of people I've played with have avoided me...for trash talking. No other reason. This is ludicrous to me, because I really don't trash talk. I mean, maybe once in a while, but I rarely have the skills to back up the talk, and it's ridiculous when people trash talk about how great they are and then you kill them with one shot. But I know the real reason all of them picked "trash talk" was because that's the default. They would have had to use the thumbstick and do some reading to record the real reason instead of just hitting A, A, A. I suspect the real reason is "lacks skill," but I guess in the end "trash talk" sounds better.

When I do talk trash, it's disturbingly geeky. On Father's Day, we played a lot of cards. At my parents' house we played Nerts, with partners. I've never played with partners before. I've actually never played Nerts before, but it's basically the same game as Dutch Blitz, which we are completely and utterly addicted to. We've played for hours. We've played on a cruise ship. Anyway. My nephew, who is a very intense person, aparently plays this game all the time with his every Saturday night or something. He ended up being partnered with my mom, who is 72, but she still plays a mean game of cards. She's a bridge player from way back. You should see her during Countdown...she tries to take three tricks every round. Mom, there's only two cards in this round! Nevermind, I'm taking three anyway!!

So, my nephew may be a little hampered, but he's still winning. I happen to be partnered with his mom. We're right across the table. Soon, he commences the trash talk. (Oh, my, I can't use "commences" in the same sentence with "trash talk.") Soon, he gets his trash talk on. It starts out small. At the end of every round, we'd all announce our scores out loud. As he's keeping score, he'd announce theirs last. With a smirk. Pretty soon, though, he's leaning across the table, staring deeply into my eyes, and saying, "My sole goal in this next round is to beat you." "Learn to live with disappointment," I retort. Of course, he beat us anyway, but we were darn close. And so it goes, and he does end up winning, but he ties with DH and my niece. He says a tie has never happened in the history of Nerts before (at least, his history).

We play a second game. At some point, he stops announcing their score. I didn't notice until I looked over and saw him writing down our 26 points and notice that their score for that round was zero. Oh, boy. "I'm sorry, I didn't hear what your score was that round. Was that a zero?" I smell victory. When he announces the scores mid-game, we're in the lead. I cup my hand to my ear. "I'm sorry, I didn't quite hear that. What was your score again?" I will spare you the minutia of the trash talk during the game, and skip to the end. The final round, we needed only 6 cards to win (to pass 100). I start counting our cards...

"How many do we need to win? Six? One, two, three, four, five, six...BUT WAIT! There's MORE! Seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen! Giving us...OH, that's the same score you won the last round with...only WE didn't TIE!"

My nephew replies, "Yeah, well you came in third last round and we came in second."

"Nope! We came in second, because you tied for first. See, really, you were just one of two! One over two, or one-half! We, on the other hand, are number one!"

"Oh yeah?! Well, we beat you by more than you beat us!"

"Let's look at the point spread!"

"Yeah, let's do that!! Look...we beat you by two more points than you beat us!"

"Yeah, but our game had a higher standard deviation!"

"WHAT?! No it didn't!"

"Yes it DID! I guess they don't teach you that stuff at the Naval Academy!"

"You don't know what you're talking about! Did you even take math at Georgia Tech?? Besides, standard deviation is just a theoretical measure!"

"Oh, so, even theoretically we're better than you!"

"It's just a measure of how far away from the average you are!"

"Exactly!!!!" (My nephew winces here, knowing he said The Wrong Thing.) "Here's average...and here's you...and here's us WAY OVER HERE!"

Things degenerated at this point...but it ended with him turning his back on me, at which point I said, "OH! He can't even face me anymore!" When he turned around, I gave him a big hug, and we dissolved into laughter. "You're fun!" we told each other.

So there you go, not only do I totally deserve my less-than-five-star rating due to trash talking, I'm really disturbing and embarassing when I talk trash.

It turns out that the game he won did have a higher standard deviation, but we were a greater number of standard deviations away from our mean than he was from his.

And that's all that matters. =)


Erin (moviemuse) said...

ROTFL!!! And I can laugh because my group of friends and family have all had similar conversations.

Jean in Georgia said...

It's just all the polysyllabic words that have them wondering....

Old Geek-outs