The Cow Game

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I Won The Cow Game

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The what game?

Many years ago, around the time of the PocketMail[1. PocketMail. How advanced that was back in the year 2000. Check out this juicy tidbit:

But if you only need to move small amounts of data – and e-mails, without file attachments, are small – and you want universal compatibility, an acoustic coupler ain’t that bad an idea.], good friend Claire and a few mates invented The Cow Game[2. They may have just passed it on to Claire, but I think they actually invented it. In any case, I’m not gonna let the truth get in the way of a good story].

The Cow Game has two rules :

  1. To win, you must be the first person to see a cow and yell “I won the cow game!”.
  2. You must be in, or on, a moving vehicle.

It’s one of those games that you play on long trips in the car, like “I spy”, but it’s better, ‘cos whoever wins The Cow Game wins The Cow Game! It beats all other journey-related games, and actually beats all other games or wins throughout the day. The Cow Game is the top of the pile: the Don in the Mafia; the sprinkles on your chocolate-dipped Mr. Whippy ice cream. It’s that good. The Cow Game resets every day. Previous victories are forgotten.

Sounds stupid, right? Wrong. Try it for yourself. It’s fun. It’s great fun. And competitive like nothing else. I’d go so far as saying it’s addictive. Compulsive even. Also, unlike I spy, it starts as soon as you get in the vehicle and start moving. What this means is that the beginning of a game is never announced — It’s up to the people (players) to remember to play.

Sounds even more stupid, right? Wrong. The beauty of this stealthy approach is just that, stealth. The element of surprise. You could be in a car with four others unaware and you just yell out “I won The Cow Game!” Everyone slaps their foreheads in shame and self pity. Even better is when everyone in the car is playing, but trying to look like they’re not playing. Deception. Cold wars probably start this way.

You need to bluff the other players as well. Pretend like you’re not aware the game is on and talk to the others casually. This technique makes it look like you’ve forgotten, coaxing others into lowering their guard. It also allows you to expand your Cone of Vision™ — secretly look out of all windows — while you turn your head to talk to the others in the car. Then all of a sudden, BAM! Yep, you’ve won The Cow Game. To the sound of forehead slaps.

But beware. The Cow Game can get dangerous. You might be driving, and you have someone riding shotgun. The conversation has quietened, or become a little suspect, and you sense the other player has shifted their attentions to the cow-abundant outside world. Suddenly your attention is focused on the cow-abundant outside world, and not on the road in front of you — oops. Such is the deceptive nature and intrigue of The Cow Game.

If I was at a party telling this tale, it’d be right about now that I’d propose a toast to Claire and friends for having the creativity, wisdom, and foresight to invent The Cow Game. Here’s to you guys.