>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson

June 25, 2006

Essential New Word of the Week: liquorbomb (definition hint: the morning after…)

Top mental health experts agree that a little competition is healthy when you’re growing up. Even television personality/suspected cyborg Dr. Phil McGraw recommends participation in organized sports for a boy or girl. Competition is a part of childhood that helps shape you into a better adult.

However, sometimes things go terribly wrong. Too much emphasis on competition can turn you into a twisted, sociopathic adult, capable of doing anything to recapture even a bit of your lost glory. As you may have guessed, this is fate I’m currently fighting against, and I’m not sure I’m winning.

There’s lots of blame to spread around for this. I didn’t have a Super-Veiny-Hockey-Dad™, but he always wanted me to do better. That might seem like a positive sort of encouragement, but the truth is, I wasn’t really good at anything, and his encouragement probably didn’t help. I was a benchwarmer in pretty much every sport I tried. Of course, it probably didn’t help my state of mind when he threatened to give me a chocolate milk enema if my team lost.

“Pop a Xanax before playing Operation, and victory is assured. Don’t worry: the Operation dude can’t exactly sue you for malpractice.”

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to win everything. In my imagination, I was the MVP of every league, on the fast track to superstardom. But my mediocre athletic ability let me down. As the years passed, sports were more or less phased out, in favor of school and work. But my competitive drive still burned the fire of 1000 nuns. With herpes.

And that presents a problem. If not sports, what could possibly serve as the outlet for this overdeveloped competitive spirit? Reality shows are competitive, but I work full-time, they never accept Canadians, and I don’t want to eat mealworms in a bikini. I could try for a World Record, but I can’t grow a moustache more than two feet, and I can never get all the bees to stay on my face long enough for the Guinness people to take my picture.

In fact, the only competitive activity I have access to is games, of the board or card variety. Consequently, all the competitive fire gets fuelled into them. I don’t have the opportunity to play games very often—a rainy, drunken Sunday afternoon with friends, or a holiday family visit—but when I do, it’s win at all costs. I don’t care if I’m playing Snakes & Ladders against my 3-year-old niece, I will stop at nothing to win. And that includes withholding her juice-box, if need be.

In order to rack up the victories, I’ve developed all kinds of nefarious tactics. This is a fancy way of saying “cheating.” I’m not proud of my mental illnesses, but let’s be honest: If I wasn’t figuring out ways to roll double sixes for backgammon, I’d probably be hunting midgets for sport.

Sun Tzu wrote “All warfare is based on deception.” So, with this in mind, please enjoy the following list “outside-the-box” strategies.


ScrabbleThe first thing you need to remember is, an inattentive opponent is the cheater’s best friend. If your Scrabble opponent furrows his brow and tries to figure out what he’s going to do with seven vowels, it’s time for you to gobag-fishin’. Seriously, go ahead and root for the letter you need. If you get caught, just shrug and say you only have six tiles in your hand and need another. It helps to hide one of your tiles beforehand. There’s no “I” in “team,” but there just might be one up your anal cavity.

Fraudulent plays are also encouraged. You’ve got to intimidate your opposition into believing every word you lay down could be legitimate. If you’re questioned, give your fake word a violent and disturbing definition. “Zoquation? Oh, that means the act of ripping someone’s head off and defecating down their neck-hole.” Typical Scrabble players will be too freaked out to challenge you.

Trivial Pursuit

Trivial PursuitEveryone knows fatties have an advantage at this game. Lard is a great brain insulator. Also, fatties are accustomed to answering questions in exchange for pie. Nevertheless, today’s busy cheater can overcome this unfair fat advantage by using technology. Yes, technology is the great equalizer.

Now, most people don’t know when the Magna Carta was signed, and that’s OK. But they do know two things: how to use a cell phone, and everyone poops. Next time you get asked a tough question, fake a stomach-ache and head for the bathroom. It won’t be that suspicious; a sudden attack of diarrhea could happen to anyone. Fart noises and splashing toilet water will add to the realism of your illusion. You’ll have to keep your voice down, but it’s like having unlimited phone-a-friend lifelines. Call your smartest and/or fattest friend for the answer, repeat as needed, and revel in your victory.


MonopolyCheating at Monopoly is contingent on being the banker. Pocketing those $500 bills is simplicity itself. How do you think Donald Trump got to be so successful in real estate? If you’re not the banker, you’ll need to be a bit more creative. Most opponents will probably be reluctant to trade away properties for anything you can give them in the game, but try offering a real-life bribe. Marvin Gardens doesn’t seem so damn important when someone’s offering you a free six-pack of beer.


Unfortunately, science has not yet devised a way to cheat at Trouble. Goddamn fucking Pop-O-Matic bubble….


ChessIf someone is smart enough to play chess, they’ll probably notice if a bishop or knight goes missing. Accordingly, subtle tactics are no good, and you’ll have to use more overt methods against your opponent. I recommend throwing salt in his eyes, much like the diabolical Mr. Fuji used to do. That may sound a bit extreme, but remember, your pride is on the line. Then, when your foe is stumbling around blind, rearrange the pieces in your favor. No, seriously, try this. There’s no referee to disqualify you.


OperationNow here’s a game that rewards a steady hand. Performance-enhancing substances may be banned in organized sports, but not board games. Pop a Xanax before playing, and victory is assured. If this plan backfires and you get the shakes, don’t worry: the Operation dude can’t exactly sue you for malpractice. Besides, he’s got a light for a nose, a Moe haircut, and no genitals. It’s not like his life can get much worse.

Connect Four

Connect FourIt’s hard to cheat at this game, because those checker things don’t move around. However, at the very least, you can assure yourself of a draw at any time. That little switch that releases the checkers has a hair trigger. If you find yourself in imminent danger of losing, a little sleight-of-hand will send all the pieces tumbling into the Land of the Tie, Population: 2.


BattleshipSo whose to say those little ships can’t move around, trying to dodge your opponent’s guesses. I mean, they’re supposed to be fucking ships, right? Ships move. Or better yet, don’t even place your submarine on the board. Call it a French submarine. You’ll sink all the other ships long before anyone realizes that your sub is full of cowardly frogs, too scared to show up for battle.

Candy Land

Candy LandIf you can reach the Peppermint Stick Forest, there’s a secret warp to Gum Drop Mountain, where you’ll be able to defeat Lord Licorice. Yes, even your dignity is a small price to pay for the sweet, sweet taste of victory.


TwisterI shouldn’t have to tell you this, but don’t worry about cheating. Just wait until you’ve got a nice, soft, boob-and-buttock-filled landing pad, and feel free to take a dive like the teams that play the Harlem Globetrotters. I never thought I’d say it, but winning isn’t everything.

Essential New Word of the Week:

liquorbomb [‘lIk erbam] n: It’s a sight that inspires both dread and happy memories. You wake up the morning after a great party. You take a look around, and there’s crap everywhere, mostly in the form of glasses, cans, and bottles. You might even say a liquorbomb has gone off in the middle of the room.

Just as a firebomb spreads fire and a dirty bomb spreads, uh, dirt, the liquorbomb disperses the dead soldiers over a wide area. It’s amazing where they can end up: In closets, behind lamps, in the kitchen sink…and that’s just if you’re lucky. It’s entirely possible that, weeks later, you’ll find a few bottles in the dogdish, or the toilet tank. And that’s the sign of a great party.