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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It's That Time!

The Latest Newsletter
Year's end means one thing to a mahjongg player - time to receive the yearly bulletin from the League and to put in an order in for the new card and other necessaries, such as plastic holders and table covers.  This year's bulletin heralds the League's 80th year, observed with pride by Lawrence (Larry) Unger, League President.  In keeping with tradition, the bulletin is filled with testimonials of gratitude from charitable organizations and satisfied players from all walks of life along with a generous sampling of Q&As both general and specific to this year's card.  The list of "Collectors" (those who send in 35 or more memberships) has grown considerably.  And there is also a loving tribute to Ruth Unger, Past President, and Marilyn Starr, Past Secretary, reflecting on the core values of the League.  Although they are no longer with us, be assured the League remains committed to crafting a card that is "challenging but fair".

I would certainly agree that this year's card is challenging.  Receiving the newsletter reminds me that the days of playing the 2016 card are waning and I must confess I haven't completed it as of yet. 
I know this because for the first time this year I marked off the hands I have made and it is eye-opening to see which ones remain unmarked.

Although people think I do nothing with my life but play, according to my unofficial calculations I have only played about 1,000 games since the card came out 36 weeks ago.  (1-1/2 session per week, four hours per session, four games per hour) After all that mahj, I am still short in three sections of the card:
  • 11 hands
  • Quints
  • 13579
For some reason that I can only attribute to the aging process, it took me a long time to switch from 7 hands to 11 hands.  I recently realized that 9 + 2 go together this year, as do 8 + 3, but I have only made half of the 11 hands so far.

In the quints section, although I have made the first hand several times in previous years, this year it has remained out of reach.  I have not yet made the new 1+6+7 hand.  I know I am not alone in this, but, shame on me, I also haven't made the consecutive run quint.

I have in the past made fun of people who only go for certain hands.  I know one woman who exclusively plays the "big hand" no matter how far from it she is.  Others shy away from closed hands.  But the process of marking the card has confirmed what I have long suspected - I am odd-number averse.  Yes, I have made all the pairs hands - even the "big hand" twice - but not the 13579.  Of the 11 odd-number hands, I have only made six of them - in 1,000 games!  I am sure someone can write a thesis on oddphobia and perhaps develop a pill to counteract it.  If so, please contact me for a clinical trial.

Marking the card has proven to be a wonderful exercise in self-discovery.  And it has spurred me to make a New Year's resolution to broaden my horizons and beat the odds!  Here is hoping my card will be filled with Xs before the new one comes along.

Happy New Year, everyone!





Monday, July 18, 2016