Few things beat a good party game for putting people at ease—be they best friends or acquaintances at best. I attended a baby shower whose host displayed a platter of adorable infant-related items and instructed us to commit them to memory. After Jackie and her tray left the room, her mother-in-law distributed pencils and paper. However, instead of asking us to list the contents of the tray—which I’d been repeating under my breath—she asked us, “What was Jackie wearing?” Oops. We sighed and chattered and maybe (or not) remembered those brown Mary Janes.
The presents have been unwrapped, the new year celebrated, and the holiday treats devoured. Now what? For many folks, the post-holiday season appears bleak, with only frigid weather and sunless days stretching out over the weeks ahead. But for some, the fun has only begun. If you’re an avid skier, snowboarder, or snowmobiler, you’ve just started enjoying the season and delighting in fresh white blankets of snow. Perhaps you’ve even pulled out your snowshoes or the old Sno Bronco.
Allow me to introduce you to an elite group of which I am not a member: serious gamers. Yes, I’ve been known to play the occasional game of Scrabble, and in my youth I devoted a week one summer to playing Monopoly with a cousin. Add in a few random games of Checkers, Parcheesi, and Go Fish, and that about covers it. So when I say “serious gamer,” I’m referring to someone like the extraordinary Sid Sackson.
Many of us grew up playing domino games. And once the game was over, we carefully lined the dominoes up on end, just to watch them topple in a chain reaction. With a history stretching back more than 700 years, dominoes today look the same as they did two centuries ago. Dominoes are devices, like cards and dice, which provide hundreds of different games. And like playing cards, a 2010 inductee to the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong, you can find dominoes in electronic versions just about anywhere today.
What will your life look like a year from now? Most of us are intrigued—just a bit—to know what the future holds for us, curious about how our careers, relationships, or finances will go. We’re certainly not the first to wonder about such things, nor will we be the last. For centuries, people of all cultures have pondered the same questions and devised a variety of ways to predict the answers. Some scholars believe the origins of fortune telling can be traced to 14th-century gypsies, while others believe the roots of divination and prophecy run much deeper.
Watching the Emmy Awards recently turned my thoughts to the upcoming 2012 induction of new toys into the National Toy Hall of Fame on November 15. Although our induction ceremony doesn’t boast television stars, glittery evening gowns, or tearful acceptance speeches, it nevertheless offers suspense leading up to bestowing a significant honor on two (or sometimes three) deserving winners. No one goes away with an impressive trophy for their mantel, but classic toys receive their moment in the spotlight.