How to play “I Win!”June 13, 2006
Q: I’ve never heard of this thing – what is it?
“I win!” is a situationally dependent game I invented to help in resolving disputes in a relationship. It has extracted me from many a thorny predicament, and I feel I could quite justifiably sell the game to Milton Bradley or Dr Phil or some such for a tidy sum of money, yet here I am willing to give it to you, the jonsonblog audience for free, such is my generosity. The key to the game is timing, and keeping a clear head.
Q: How does the game work?
Follow along: occasionally one finds oneself in a position of having screwed up, in a manner that makes things worse for both you & someone you’re close to, such as a spouse or significant other. For example, you failed to print out directions and now you’re both hopelessly lost, or you thought you made dinner reservations at 8 on Tuesday, when in fact it was 8 on Wednesday. Without a game like “I win”, you would be forced to either accept the blame for the mistake, which puts you in a position of weakness and mentally sets you up to be on the defensive for the rest of the day/evening/length of your partner’s short term memory, or worse yet, try and weasel out of the blame and create a huge issue out of fault assignment and past resentments. Neither outcome is optimal.
Q: So what’s the solution?
However, if you just remember (and you must strike while the iron is hot) at the apex of the mistake, the precise moment where it becomes crystal clear that you have fucked up, and that BOTH of you will now share in the punishment for your mistake but BEFORE any argument or laying of blame has begun, to raise both hands in the air, and in a triumphant, clear voice declare “I win!”, you are immediately absolved of any and all responsibility for the mistake. Not only that, but the mistake itself is instantly wiped clean. In the case of the restaurant above, it is as though you & your girlfriend just decided to try eating at the restaurant without any reservations, on a whim. Or that you both agreed that printing out a map would ruin the spontanaeity of the trip, and that life was about the journey more than the destination.
Q: Is that all there is? It sounds too simple to work?
That’s what they said about nuclear fission, but it’s actually remarkably complex. As for the game, yes, it totally works, provided both participants agree to adhere to the five cardinal rules of I Win!, as published below.
1) You must BOTH share equally in the punishment for I Win! to apply. The mistake can’t be “I accidentally forgot your birthday” or “I accidentally went down on your sister.”
2) You must declare I Win! on the spot. Once an argument has broken out, it’s too late and the game is unsalvageable.
3) The victim of the folly MUST accept the declaration of victory without any complaint; once a valid I Win! has been declared, the issue is immediately over, and no blame can be meted out, nor resentment held on to for later issuance.
4) The declaration of victory MUST come at the apex of the mistake. If you are, say, lost in the woods due to poor map handling by the perpetrator, a declaration of victory five minutes before a savage bear rogering is immediately rendered null & void.
5) You can NOT deliberately lead somone into an “I Win”, it must be a complete accident, due to negligence, thoughtlessness, overconfidence, or some other tragic flaw. Malicious intent breaks the rules.