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Posted May 20 2010 2:50pm

My wife loves the card game UNO. If you don’t know the game, you’re dumb. Everyone knows UNO.

You start with 7 cards, and I like to organize my cards as soon as I get them. I of course sort out the 4 different colors, and put the Wilds off to the side. This way I can easily see which color I have the most of, so which one I need to focus on. Within the colors there are numbers, as well as special cards like Draw 2, Skip and Reverse. You can play color on color, or number on number, in order to switch colors. I organize according to number as well, within my color organization. I like to go from low to high, left to right, and but if I have multiple cards of the same number, but across different colors, I group those together as well. If I have a few 7′s, for example, one of yellow and one of blue, I’ll make sure that the 7′s are organized right next to each other so I know that I can use them to switch the colors to move the game forward. I’ve played enough UNO to know how to sort it out and try and make sense of it.

However, sometimes you just get obliterated by the other side. Like absolutely annihilated. If someone puts down a Draw 2 on you, well then the actual act of picking up two cards counts as your turn. So you draw two, and you miss your turn. If you’re playing with only one other person (which I mostly do, with my wife) then it’s back to her turn. It’s like a triple wammy for me. There are some moments where your opponent craftily organizes the ultimate death blow on you, starting off with like a Draw 4 wild (the trump card in the game…you get to pick the color, the other players has to pick up 4 cards, and if you’re playing with only one other person, it’s your turn again), and then goes right from that Draw 4 to like a Draw 2, then skips, then skips in another color, then Draw 2′s you in that new color, and only has two cards left, and there you are, quite unexpectedly with 8 new cards in your hand, totally demolished and panicked.

When this happens in UNO, I take the time to reorganize. I’ve just been dealt an entirely different hand. It’s like a whole new game. I’ve got totally new cards, I need to re-sort my colors and my numbers to figure out what my priorities are.

This is why in 3 weeks, I’m quitting my job. People say they understand, but I don’t think they really understand. This is the worst economy since the Great Depression., and I’m willfully giving up my job. While people fear getting laid off, I’m quitting. I am saying goodbye to a salary and insurance coverage to go without steady income, and to pay our own insurance via Cobra for the next 12 months. We’re going to travel (which costs) and not work (which doesn’t earn money). You know why? Because we got the death blow. Whoever the hell I’m playing against in UNO conspired against me to beat the shit out of me, but not quite end the game, just make it bad enough to think that the game was over, but really just to fuck with me. I didn’t get a Draw 4 and then a few Draw 2′s, I got like a Draw 6,000,000,000, fuck you this isn’t even UNO anymore this is an entirely new game with new rules and you’re way the fuck behind and are about to lose, so you need to figure your shit out, now. Granted, I’m playing this game with a partner and that helps, but we still haven’t figured things out. We need to sort through our cards, count up our colors and our Wild’s and our Skip’s to find out what our new priorities are.

So I’m on the way out the door of work. It feels freeing but also somewhat unsettling. I’m looking forward to traveling the world (New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, Italy, and Kenya….oh, and a cross country road trip in the US as well as a 6 day biking trip which I’m planning to do by myself, under a vow of silence) but I’m still not sure I’m going on vacation. I think I’m just starting to sort through this mess of cards that we’ve been dealt to really find out what is going on. This writing has helped, has been a big first step in that, and will be something I continue to do. But I still got a ways to go.

I included this picture at the end because when you google image “UNO” this thing comes up. Awesome. And also encouraging. I’m hoping to end up this carefree after I take this year to sort through my UNO cards.

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