“I hate coincidences,” I grumbled to Jacob, shortly after history had repeated itself.
I don’t think I had ever played such a heated card game. It was called Mini Pickles, for absolutely no reason at all. I find that most insane card games have names that don’t make any sense, like Egyptian Ratscrew, or Scum. Mini Pickles requires each player to bring their own deck of cards, preferably with a different design so they can be told apart at the end of each round. You lay out your cards like a solitaire game, but any ace that you find goes into the middle of the table. You want to get rid of cards, and that means that you can put a two on any similar-suited ace out on the table, and then stack them as intuition dictates. But people steal your aces. They always, always, always steal your aces. And that’s when people get pissed off.
I don’t think this is a card game that ever left my high school. I’ve googled it. It isn’t real.
“As you said, statistics don’t lie,” Jacob told me after we’d finished a round. I was having a bad game. Jacob had played his eight of clubs half a second before I could play mine.
The statistics that always catch me are the ones that I’m right about, but I assume are wrong anyway. Take coincidences, for example. Statistically, coincidences are going to happen every once in awhile, such as running the same experiment twice in two different places and having the same thing go wrong. Suppose you do an analysis of every girl in your middle school, and after choosing one, your closest friend happens to pick the same girl. That’s statistically plausible, because this girl is optimal. Suppose you do an analysis of every girl in your high school two years later. After choosing one, your new closest friend happens to pick the same girl.
I hate coincidences.
Step one: Compile a list. A nefarious list. Call it The Scheme. No, that’s been done already. Let’s call this one The Plot. The Plan? The Ploy? Does it really matter what it’s called? It’s just a list. Who are the biggest threats? First threat: Jacob. What Number is he? Hm… We’ll have to assess the other threats first.
High school is a lot harder to keep track of than middle school. Who knows who the threats are? So Jacob is… Number One? It certainly would be nice if there were only one person that I was competing with. And the fact that he’s a good friend means that I can sabotage him in any way imaginable and he’ll still get over it, right? That’s what friends are for. Sabotaging and forgiving.
Sonali has a thing for Jacob. That’s useful. I can use this against him/for him. Because if I can divert him to Sonali, then I get the optimal girl for myself. Everybody wins, except Jacob gets his second choice and I get my first. So for Sonali’s List, she’s Number Two, and the optimal girl is Number One. Are you supposed to put yourself on a List? Do there need to be strict rules for Plots/Ploys/Plans/Schemes/Ruses? Seeing as I’ve been talking out of my ass this entire time, I don’t think that consistency in naming and listing procedures should be a concern.
After the first semester of 10th grade ended, I found out that the optimal girl was transferring to a different high school at the end of the year. At about the same time that I learned about this, another girl transferred into the school, and she might have been a good replacement. I put this new girl through the Excel spreadsheet. She ranked high on attractiveness and intelligence, with adequate personality, but further analysis was required. Besides, I was already kind of set on this other optimal girl.
Jacob is kind of moving towards Sonali, but they haven’t locked it in on their Facebook or anything, whatever that’s supposed to mean. It turns out that secretly coercing people into doing your will is harder than it looks on TV, so I sat down with Jacob and told him the situation over a nice game of Mini Pickles.
Don’t play Mini Pickles with only two people. It’s really lame.
I explain to Jacob that he should go for Sonali instead of the optimal girl, because the optimal girl is leaving soon, and I basically only want a girlfriend because I feel like I should have gotten a girlfriend by this point in my life. Welcome to high school, where you can openly tell your friends that you don’t actually have any romantic feelings for the girl that you’re pursuing, and nobody really gives a damn.
At this age, I was still one of the weird kids. My friend had made me a Facebook account because I refused to make one myself, and I just didn’t care, I gave out the password for the account to anybody who asked for it. My friend Phillip even used my account to collect data from all of my friends. Ah, I love to see someone collecting data.
Jacob was bizarrely on board with my plan. He would go for Sonali, and I would be free to ask out the optimal girl without any known competition. Why did it work out so easily? Apparently I hadn’t been paying a bit of attention, and Jacob and Sonali had already made out on, like, three separate occasions. They weren’t “locked in” necessarily, but they were getting there.
Spoilers: They never did really get locked in. Turns out that was all irrelevant, just like every other aspect of any of my girlfriend pursuits.
So off I go to ask out the optimal girl. And I do so. And she says no. Hey, at least it only took me one semester this time instead of all year. I guess that means that I’m improving. Next time it will only take three months, right?
Jacob was the only person on my List of threats, but it turns out that there was no List at all. This girl knew that she was transferring schools soon, so she simply could not be bothered with any boy drama. I wasn’t Number Three. I wasn’t Number Two, or Number One, or even Number Fifty. There were no Numbers. No Lists at all. So much for the freakin’ analysis.
And then she transferred schools. And that was that.