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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jafar's Game

Today on Facebook, one of my old high school acquaintances asked why life has to be so boring.  Here is my spur-of-the-moment response:

Answer: It doesn't.
What did you learn today?
What were you grateful for today?
Who did you talk to today?
Where did you find beauty today?

Her question and my response brought my mind back around to remembering something known as "Jafar's Game."

Within the SCA, there used to be a young guy who went by the name "Jafar" when he was at events.  (Remember, we're all pretending to come from the Middle Ages, so we each adopt a "persona" with their own name and interests, whom we're supposed to behave as while we're at events.) While I only ever met him once, he was very well known well-loved, and when he died of a sudden illness at the age of 28, people around here and across the United States were devastated.

Jafar had the kind of personality that begs to have tall tales made about it, and given the things he got into, there are in fact at least a few stories still being told about him.  He was known for, among other traits, being perpetually cheerful.  The story goes that one night, he was on a long ride home from an event, in a van with a bunch of friends.  He listened to the other people gossiping and bitching for awhile - So-and-so is just such a jerk sometimes, Well they said they'd be changing it but you know that'll never happen, and so on – and then he put on his patented glow-in-the dark grin, turned to the person next to him, and said, "So – what did you learn today?"

Thus was born Jafar's Game.

The rules are pretty simple: on the way home from an event, everyone takes turns describing one cool thing that they saw, experiences, or learned over the course of the day.  When it's your turn, no one can interrupt you, although your commentary can certainly spark plenty of discussion.  When you're done, the next person goes, and so on around the car, and when it comes back around to you, you add a new cool thing that you get to describe and discuss.  This goes on for as long as possible, until you either run out of things to discuss or the car pulls into the driveway.  At no time are you allowed to have "learned" something that involves snarky, bitchy gossip; even if it turns out you had a bad day, the object is to try and pull something positive from the experience.

Jafar's Game has introduced many a newcomer to the joys of playing in our Society, given me the chance to be grateful for and share with others any number of terrific experiences, and saved a small handful of really rotten days and made them into something a little less miserable and more valuable.

Funny how I don't think I've ever taken Jafar's Game and applied it to a regular day away from any SCA events… but I guess now is as good a time to start as any.

I dunno – I just disagree that life "has to be" boring, even if I'm often guilty of inflicting boring days on myself.

So I'm asking: What did you learn today? What were you grateful for?  Who did you talk to?  Where did you find beauty?

I'm looking forward to your answers.


  1. I learned how to use winching-type straps to secure furniture while I moved it in a truck to my new place. I am grateful for SCA friends both here and back home, who are keeping me sane during this process of relocation. I met a couple of housemates at the new place.

    And I found beauty in the rolling hills, seeing sheep grazing in a meadow, and an alpaca watching the world go by.

    I also found beauty in getting my furniture set up how I want it in my room. It's a small step, but by having the structures in place, it will be easier to bring in my books & other things, and unpack them into the shelves.

  2. Glad to hear you're settling in at your new place, Kristin! And getting furniture arranged is no small step, either - at least, not according to my back. You've got the bones in place, so now you're ready to flesh out your home the way you want it. Go you!