By Tom Sloper

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Column #52

American (2003 NMJL card). "I went to the Lily Tomlin show over the weekend," Esther told the group.

Nora asked, "You mean 'The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe'? How was it?"

Esther smiled, "It was hilarious. There were so many great lines. My favorite was, 'Language was created because of our deep need to complain.'"

Wesley quipped, "Then mah-jongg must have been created to give us something to complain about."

So we come to Sophia's hand. After the first right, she already had two things to complain about.

First: the third run hand is a "these numbers only" hand. Second: that run hand from last year's card isn't on this year's card. She broke up the 6C pair.

By the time the second across came, she had to make a decision. She had two tiles to pass, but she had to pass three, which meant forgetting one of her meager hands. Never one to pass up an opportunity to complain, she kvetched, "I have to pass three?"

By the end of the Charleston, she'd made little progress. A couple of dragons had come in, as well as another 4D. "Oy," she kvetched. "I've got three hands. And I don't know which to go for. ... Mainly because they all suck." This got a laugh from her friends

Several turns later, she picked 4C. Now she was committed to the Like Numbers hand. A couple of 4Bs went out; she couldn't call. Sophia announced, "I went the wrong way."

Esther threw a G, and soon after two more were thrown by Nora (on subsequent turns, of course). With the last one, Sophia told her, "You're killing me." The next few turns there was little she could do. Esther added to the abuse by discarding 4D. "Somebody please put me out of my misery," she said to no one in particular. The honor of picking the very last tile fell to Sophia: it was a W. Wall game. The group held a brief little complaining party... then they played again.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.