I believe my friend Lisa when she says “Yahtzee!!!” on the other end of the phone. I have to; I have nothing else to go on but the honesty that is sacred in a game of Long-Distance Yahtzee.
We used to play hours of Triple Yahtzee in college. Whether we were at work together, passing time at Mellow Yellow in between incense sales, or sitting at her home on a snowy Colorado Saturday, or on a road trip, breaking out the dice on a picnic table at a rest stop, we were more than a little obsessed with the Yahtz. We had our own lingo and expressions for almost every move. That connection didn’t stop when I moved 2000 miles away.
I don’t know how long I had been living in Manhattan at the time, but I definitely remember that while we were talking on the phone about how much we missed playing Yahtzee, we shared the same realization that we both had dice, we both had scorecards, and we both could give eachother a running commentary as to what we rolled and how we used it, like a sports announcer might. Yes! Our favorite game could live on!
The words “I won’t lie about what I’m rolling” were spoken but really didn’t need to be. Of course there would be no dishonesty: that would be the worst dice-rolling Karma ever.
Whenever this unseen Yahtzee challenge has come up in conversation, inevitably someone looks at me quizzically and says, “You play Yahtzee on the phone? How do you know the other person’s not cheating?”. My reply is always, “Because I trust her”. Ok, maybe once or twice she’s had a hot streak and I would have loved to have actually seen that third natural large straight, but I can’t doubt it. Otherwise, there’s no point in playing.
Eleven years have passed, hands-free head sets have been purchased to make dice-rolling easier, other far-away friends who love Yahtzee have joined in on the action, and hundreds of games have been played. Although we don’t get as much time to play anymore with our families and professions being our new obsessions, those times we get to play help to keep our friendship close.
I believe that the distance between two people is only as big as you’re allowing it to be, regardless of how far–or near–you live from one another. I also believe that honesty can be a delightfully liberating and satisfying experience, even when you don’t roll any Yahtzees.
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