Hello everyone,

Recently I had to watch over a group of the neighbors’ kids.

Normally, you would think that this is not a bad job, as long as you are not watching over a group of toddlers.

Wrong.

I had a group of lovely and well-behaved children, ranging from third graders to eighth graders.

“So, what’s the problem?” you wonder.

Well, the problem was to keep them all entertained at the same time.

“Easy,” you say. “Just hand them each a tablet or something and download something appropriate for their age groups. That’ll keep them occupied for hours. Problem solved! Mission accomplished!”

Yes. If only it were that simple.

Unfortunately, the weather played a prank on us. As soon as the adults dropped them off, a storm arrived unexpectedly and there was a power outage throughout the town.

I groaned and sighed, along with the kids. It appeared that this was going to be a long day.

Since the children just finished their meals, and they were all staring at me with those you-might-as-well-kill-me-now-because-my-Ipad-is-dead kind of look, I knew I had to think of something fast.

I started with, “Hey, have you guys ever try out heart attack for fun?”

Silence accompanied by blank looks.

OK, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, because they were now staring at me like I am a total lunatic.

“Ha ha!” I laughed awkwardly. So, this was probably how my school teachers felt all the time. Kudos to those teachers for getting their jobs done outstandingly.

“It’s a game called Heart Attack, I mean,” I cleared my throat and tried again. “You guys ever heard of it?”

A blonde-haired boy shook his head slowly.

I pumped my fist in triumph. In my mind, of course. Lest they truly believed that I was insane, after all.

But wait! Not so fast! I saw a look of suspicion and disbelief among the crowd.

I quickly fished out a deck of cards, before my reputation was completely ruined.

“This is pretty easy stuff. Think you guys will like it!”

This time I wasn’t even feigning fake interests and enthusiasm. This was after all, my turf and my kind of thing. I grew up with this stuff and I still enjoy a round or two, every now and then.

“Not trying to encourage you guys to gamble or anything,” I mumbled as I shuffled the cards. “But it’s a game that teaches you stuff. It’s good stuff!”

Few eyes rolled heavenward.

“You’ll see,” I said confidently.

I handed the deck of cards to my only ally: the blonde-haired kid. “Here, shuffle this, please. So we all know that it’s a fair game.”

Then I gently sat the cards, face-down, on the table as we circled around. “Now we are going to count from one.”

I removed the topmost card and flipped it over so everyone could see it, before quickly placing it on the table. “One!”

Ace of clubs.

I smacked my hand right over it. Hard.

Several kids jumped and gasped.

I chuckled a little as I explained. “If the number we count matches the number on the card, then you are suppose to slap your hand over the card.”

Several hands plopped down, slapping mine.

“OK, don’t move!” I shouted.

Everyone stilled.

I pointed at a green-shirt kid’s hand. “See how he tried thrusting his hand into the pile of hands but only got his fingertips in?”

Several kids nodded.

“That’s a violation!” I explained. “Even though his hand is not the topmost of the pile, he gets to keep this card.”

“So what happens when I keep this card?” asked the green shirt boy.

“Good question!” I smiled. “Let’s hope you don’t have too many cards by the end of the game, because whoever ends up with the most number of cards loses the game.”

“Oh!” he said, grimaced a little.

“It’s okay,” I told him. “This is just part of the game instruction. We will shuffle the cards and start over after I’m done explaining.”

“Ready again, guys?”

From the looks of it, I didn’t even have to ask. Several kids were already rubbing their hands in anticipation.

I nodded toward an eighth grader with blue shirt, and he removed the topmost card from the deck of cards beside me.

Jack of diamonds.

I waited until all the hands have stopped slapping down on the card.

“Wow, you guys are catching on FAST!” I grinned widely. “Except that I don’t think you were listening carefully. You only slap your hands down when you see a matching number. The face cards don’t count!”

Looks of realization turned several kids grinning sheepishly.

“In this case,” I continued to explain, “you guys are supposed to divide up and then share the stack of cards under the pile of hands. But since we have only one card here, you get to keep this card!”

A red-shirt kid stared at his hand on the top of the pile and groaned. The others breathed a sigh of relief and laughed happily as they removed their hands.

“Any other questions?” I asked as I re-shuffled the deck of cards.

When no one else said a word, I placed the deck of face-down cards at the center quickly.

We wasted no time and restarted the game right away, stopping only after we have reached number ten.

“Now we start over from number one again. Then we will keep going until we run out of cards, OK?

The kids nodded quickly, eager to get back to the game.

For the first two rounds of the game, there were sounds of whooping and laughter as the kids pounded on the table, enjoying themselves.

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, they began to get upset with each other, and soon a verbal fight broke out. That was when I decided to call a time-out.

“OK, guys,” I said. “Does anyone know why the game is not so much fun anymore? What’s wrong, guys? Why are you so upset?”

“He slapped me hard on purpose!” yelled a boy, his face red with anger. He was rubbing the back of his hand.

“I see,” I said softly. “But then why is your palm a little swollen, too?”

The boy calmed down a little and inspected his swollen palm. “‘Cause I didn’t wanna lose…” he admitted, his voice trailed off a little. “So I slapped pretty hard too, I guess.”

“OK, guys.” I patted his back a little and turned to the other kids. “Did you see what happened? When you slap someone with your bare hand, the harder you slap, the more you hurt someone’s hand and your own hand. So what does that tell you guys?”

A kid raised his hand. “It means you don’t have slap real hard to win!”

Told you they were lovely and nice kids. And smart, too!

“Exactly!” I smiled and gave him a high-five. “Healthy competitions in games are good and fun. But make sure you don’t hurt someone else and end up hurting yourself too, OK?”

“Okay!”

The rest of the day went by like a blur. Suddenly we were having so much fun.

And the rewards for the winners? Sodas and snacks and the good foods I made that morning.

Yes, we kept it simple like that. So the kids wouldn’t take the games too seriously and just focus on having good fun.

Before we knew it, the parents were spilling into the living room. I glanced at the window; it was pitch dark outside.

“Hi, honey,” a mother smoothed her boy’s hair and gave him a hug. “What have you been doing all day?”

“Mom! We played heart attack all day. It was so much fun!!”

Her eyes literally bulged out in alarm, but she recovered quickly and smiled politely prior to thanking me and turning to leave.

Uh-oh. “I, uh…sure. Anytime!” I tried to explained, but, apparently, the damage has already been done.

Another parent gasped while she surveyed the living room carpet littered with packages of snacks. There were also cards scattered on the cheap, wooden table, which now appeared to tilt slightly (just a little). From all the good slapping we have done, of course.

She collected her son’s jacket and pulled the cards out of her boy’s hand. They waved a hurried goodbye and politely exited the door.

The rest was a history.

But you can probably guess it: soon I found myself standing in the deserted house. It was as though the parents couldn’t get out of here fast enough.

I guess I won’t be babysitting again any time soon.

While the game did make our hearts pound so fast that we felt like we were about to have heart attacks, I wish it didn’t have the same effect on the parents when they saw us. But it was nice, though, to enjoy the day and just be a kid, once in a while!

 

heart attack4

 

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Author’s Note:

For some of you who may be curious, this is a real card game and it’s name is also real! Heart Attack can be also known as “Slapjack,” and you can actually find those stuff online, which I thought was pretty neat! 🙂

Thank you so much for reading part of my Story About… Series! 😀 Hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for other cool stuff!! Have a wonderful day, lovely folks!!

 

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