Chapter 13. Playing

Children at play

Watching children at play, hop scotch, tea parties, or castles in a sandpile, anything imaginative that isn’t manufactured, charms and teaches us more than it teaches them.

Work and play

When your work’s like play don’t expect to be paid a hardship wage. Yet it’s better to fool your boss than to fool yourself.

Pay for play

Suppose you could play, pretend, do improv, or playact, and suppose you were paid for continuing to do it, even after you were tired of it, no longer fresh and new, same activity, different reason, would you still be playing?


All play is personally directed, in a sense. All play is structured, well . . . We have no winners or losers. —Sorry. All play is intended to be safe, but risk is a part of the fun for many.

Cat and mouse

We say the cat is playing with the mouse. We say the angler is playing with the trout. But it’s problematic when all participants aren’t willing. Getting pleasure by being cruel to others isn’t playing.

Master Tom

Master Tom had all his marbles. Master Tom played solitaire with unmarked cards. “The secret of happiness,” declared Master Tom, “is both strategy and chance.” After Master Tom sat for three days without eating or sleeping, contemplating his navel, he whispered, “Somebody, please, give me a drink!” and “Anyone for tiddlywinks?”