Ever played Cards Against Humanity? I hope for your sake, you have. It is hilariously awesome. If you’ve ever played Apples to Apples then you’re familiar with the gist of CAH. The idea is that everybody has a hand of white cards with some sort of statement. It could say “Seppuku” or “Poor Life Choices” for example. Play rotates around the players. Each player draws a black card and reads it out to the other players. The black card could read “. It’s what’s for dinner.” The other players then select the white card from their hand that completes the black card in the funniest manner. Rather, funniest to the player who played the black card — this person selects the white card that wins, which ends up as a point for the player who played it. Like I said, similar to Apples to Apples.
I absolutely love this game. It is awful. It really brings out the rotten nature in people. So hilarious. I have the CAH base deck, as well as the two expansion decks and the special Christmas deck that came out this past holiday season. I’ve played countless games of CAH. It was being played last night at a housewarming party I attended. I didn’t participate in the game this time, but I occasionally paid attention to what was being played. As always, there was an avalanche of awesome, hilarious and offensive responses to the black cards. But then one particular combination came up (that didn’t win, actually) that hit home for me.
- Black Card: <blank>: kid-tested, mother approved.
- White Card: Another shot of Morphine.
So the sentence read “Another shot of Morphine: kid-tested, mother approved.” Why did this hit home for me? I lost my older brother to medical malpractice when he was 3 years old and I wasn’t even a year old yet. He had an accident where he was in a lot of pain, and the doctors gave him too much Morphine. It killed him.
I’m very, very certain that this particular combination wasn’t intentionally targeted at me. I believe only two people at the party even knew that I had an older brother who died. One of them wasn’t even playing the game, and I think the other who was participating was the one who pulled the black card, so they couldn’t have answered with the white. I didn’t say anything last night, but it did sting for a bit. I never got to know my older brother. His name was Billy (my nephew is named after him). If he hadn’t died when we were so young, my entire life would have been completely different. So different that I likely wouldn’t have ended up here in LA with such an awesome group of friends that just happened to create that particular Cards Against Humanity card combination.
It’s sad to me that I never got to know my older brother. How awesome would that have been. An older brother to pick on me, to defend me at school and to teach me the ways of growing up. I didn’t have that. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my older sister, but we didn’t get along well enough when I was younger. And she is also a woman. There’s a vastly different dynamic between brothers than there is between a boy and a girl. Or between sisters, for that matter. So I got all of my male training from my Dad. Even that scenario is a bit different too, because of the 24-year age difference I share with my dad. With Billy, it was 3 years.
So am I mad at my friends for last night? Hell no. I don’t think it registered at all to the two other people present that knew I had an older brother. Like I said, one was not playing and probably wasn’t even paying attention to the game. And the other was so involved in the game, it probably didn’t cross their mind. It’s not like I make a big deal about this from my past, at any rate. The whole scenario got me to thinking about how often this kind of thing happens in daily life. One party not knowing that someone else has had something happen to them before, only to say something and totally put their foot in their mouth without knowing they’ve done so. I’m guilty of this in so many instances in the past. I had a bad stretch for a few years, often finding a way to say something insensitive to others present, only because I didn’t know I’d encroached on precarious ground, or absolutely forgetting something I’d previously known as I did so.
It comes to mind just how many times people get offended by others these days. People get all up in arms about Statement A from Person X. Chances are, Person X didn’t even know about the sensitive nature of what they said. They’re totally clueless. They didn’t intend to offend, just like my friends last night didn’t intend to remind me of my older brother Billy. It would have been silly for me to make a big deal about it. But people do this, all the time. And it bothers me. Nobody ever stops to look at whether or not the person is intending to offend. Or even if it’s reasonable to expect them to anticipate a negative reaction to what they are about to say.
Should any of my friends have expected the phrase ”Another shot of Morphine: kid-tested, mother approved.” to have any meaning behind what appears to be a joke about a kid shooting up Morphine with the blessing of their mother? Hah. No. I’m sure deaths like the one my older brother experienced are rare in history. I can’t imagine it happens all that often. So no, I wouldn’t expect my friends to think “Hmm, you know, this may just hit home for somebody in this room…” Besides, Cards Against Humanity is intended to be offensive and hilarious. That’s the whole point.
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to get at with all of my rambling is to tell people to calm down. Not everybody is trying to offend you. Think about intent when someone says something that you don’t like. Unless they’re trying to piss you off, why get pissed off? And unless it’s a subject that’s well-known to cause strong emotions or opinions (like abortion, for example), then just take it in stride. Don’t get so stressed out. You’ll probably live happier and longer, if you do.