Beginner’s Luck


On the first evening of my latest inpatient stay, I was surrounded by strangers and desperate to find a way to socialize.  A woman we’ll call Stefanie had a deck of cards and a crowd had gathered around to play 500 Rummy.  She invited me to join, but I opted to just pull up a chair and watch for a while, as I didn’t know the rules of the game.

The next evening, I joined the game.  I was 50 points from winning, and far ahead of most other players, when we were interrupted by visiting hours.  We never finished the game, but presumably that means I won.  The other players kept commenting on my “beginner’s luck” and that they “taught [me] so well”.

The next time we played I was again winning when we got interrupted by someone needing to speak to Stefanie.  I was sitting alone with a woman we’ll call Yasmine and I confessed to her that I was not new to playing cards, I just didn’t happen to know the rules of that particular game.  She thought that was hilarious, and she kept it to herself, so I left there with everyone else still thinking they were excellent teachers.  There was some luck involved though – everyone was frustrated by my ability to get multiple wild cards in every round.

My game of choice, which I started playing before my hands were big enough to hold all the cards (I borrowed the racks from Rack-O), is Shanghai Rummy.  It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to play, as I’m rarely with more than one other person who knows the game.  Maybe I should try being an “excellent teacher” with someone new?


One thought on “Beginner’s Luck

  1. I’m glad I stopped by, after not being here for a while. I like the whimsical feel of this story, and the way that you brought the beginning back to the ending line. I, too, have precious memories of playing cards, and being good at it, and long for a time when I will return to situations where I have the time and company to play again.

    I appreciate the humility of giving credit to our teachers, even though they could only succeed with a good student :)


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