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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goofus and Gallant play Mahjongg

Copyright Highlights for Children August 1962
Who doesn't remember Goofus and Gallant, the moral arbiters of the baby boom generation.  While they may be tame and almost laughable by today's standards, the comparative illustration of their behavior yields timeless lessons.  How does it apply to mahjongg, you ask?  Well.

  • Goofus agrees to play, then calls five minutes before the game and says, "I forgot I have tickets to the opera."
  • Gallant checks his calendar before accepting and says, "I'm free and I'd love to play!"
  • Goofus coughs and sneezes all over the tiles and says, "I just can't get rid of this cold!"
  • Gallant remembers to sneeze into his sleeve and uses Purell before touching the tiles. 
  • Goofus pulls out a $20 bill on a $3 pie and asks if you have change.
  • Gallant makes sure to bring nickles, dimes and quarters.
  • Goofus will contact a casual friend or stranger and expect her to find him a game.
  • Gallant will be proactive and take a class, find a community center or start a meetup group.
  • Goofus will corner a good player on a break and whisper, "Play in my game - and don't tell the others!"
  • Gallant will either invite everyone present or issue invitations privately.
  • Goofus will point and say, "Ha, ha!  You could have taken her joker!"
  • Gallant will remain silent and assume the joker was not needed.
  • Goofus will snarf down all the Crunch 'N Munch and never bring snacks or nosh.
  • Gallant, realizing the hostess is on a budget, will ask, "And what may I bring?"
  • Goofus will spread rumors and say, "What a cheater! She can't possibly win so much!"
  • Gallant will admire the achievements of a good player.
  • Goofus at the end of the game will ask, "Who's driving me home?"
  • Gallant will make appropriate arrangements in advance.
The etiquette of mahjongg is self-explanatory.  If you want to play in more games, don't be a Goofus!  You are welcome to post your Goofus moments - anonymously or otherwise.


  1. This brings up a good point for discussion. I take the joker whether I need it or not. Why let anyone know I don't need it, and why give anyone else a chance to get it if there is still another tile out there? I know that the second reason is not always the case. It's not like I'm missing a turn to draw a tile. What do you think, Linda?

  2. I wouldn't take a joker toward the end of the game if I didn't need it or if I was too far away from a Mah Jongg...especially if it might make the other player jokerless!

  3. How about this one - the hostess asked me to bring some fruit. I brought a big bowl of mixed berries - blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. With some very nice whipped cream on the side. Lots of delicious berries, in a nice cut glass bowl. When the evening was over, the hostess emptied the bowl into a leftover container, put it in her fridge, rinsed out my bowl and handed it back to me empty. Is that weird? It felt weird to me. She was welcome to have them but I don't know, it felt strange. I'm still scratching my head over that one. If she had said, "Ooohh these are so good, may I keep some" I would have said, oh, keep them all, Paul and your kids will enjoy them in the morning" but instead she just kept them. Weird? Opinions?

  4. The comments about jokers have given me an idea for the next blog post. Thanks!

    As to the blueberries - hmm...sometimes I'm guilty of keeping nosh after everyone goes home, but I do ask if the person who brought it wants it back. Maybe some hostesses think of their game as a dinner party and if you bring something it's a gift... I'll think about that one and do a post on leftover nosh...

  5. If someone brings something to your house - it is yours to do what you will with it!!! Period!!! If they don't want them as leftovers - they offer them out. BUT - she should have left them in the bowl - washed it and returned it to you at a later date. That's etiquette!!!!

  6. A friend works for Highlights magazine and her boss is the person Goofus was based on!

  7. I'm new to blogging, but I'm old to mahjongg. Can anyone get into the fracas on etiquette?

    1. Feel free, Carol! The bigger the fracas the better.