David Trinko: Keeping score while wasting time


If you tracked your life with points, would reading this column add or subtract from your total?

What about meeting up with friends? Would that go in your positive or negative column?

How about answering a phone call?

These questions have been swirling around in my mind ever since my youngest daughter received the card game “Future Me Problems” as a Christmas gift. As the box for the Mattel Games product describes it, it’s “a game of avoiding responsibility with Sarah’s Scribbles,” a webcomic by Sarah Andersen that’s popular with a set much younger than me.

Here’s the gist of the game: Through a little bit of gameplay of picking up and giving away “activity cards,” you collect ones with real-life tasks on them. The goal is to accumulate as many points as you can, but some cards have positive numbers, and some have negative numbers.

Or, as the game describes it, “you want to get distractions and avoid responsibilities.”

The game ends when someone picks up the “Large, Important Task” card, labeled “The Actual Work You Are Avoiding.” That one’s worth minus-5.

My family’s enjoyed playing this game, trying to strategize how to pick up as many positive points as possible while giving away as many of the negative responsibilities as you can.

It’s also a good reminder that, if you kept score at home in your real life, we’d all have different scoring systems.

I can agree that tasks like grocery shopping (minus-2), making the bed (minus-1) and cleaning (minus-1) all subtract off my social happiness.

I can also agree to the benefits of reading a favorite book (plus-3), a new obsession (plus-3) and vibe to a favorite album (plus-2) are good ways to feel better about yourself.

Some of them left me scratching my head, though. Even as an introvert, I know the benefit of meeting up with friends. It’s a positive in my life, but it’s minus-2 in the game.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the game rewards you two points for fighting with people online. It’s a necessary evil in my job, but I certainly don’t see it as a job perk. If I were assigning points, I’d give it minus-3, something the game only offers for answering a phone call.

So that goes back to the question about reading this column. In the game, would it be a positive or a negative?

I suppose it depends on how you look at it. If you consider it part of checking the news, congratulations. The game rewards you a point for that. If you consider this your social engagement with a local newspaper editor, well, that will cost you two points.

As for me and my family, we’re not taking the game’s scoring too seriously. If we did, I’d draw up a card of my own that says playing together as a family is worth a positive 25 points. We all win when we spend our free time together.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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