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Apples to Apples February 17, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Word Play.
Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night, we attended Pizza and Game Night at the clubhouse.

We ate pizza (duh!) and played Apples to Apples with a few new-to-us faces: Bob, Pam, Jan, and Jane.

Have you ever played Apples to Apples?

If not, here’s a brief glimpse at the game:

* To win, players must “earn” a certain number of Green description cards by playing the closest match they hold in a hand of seven subject cards.

* The rotating Judge decides which subject card wins each hand ~ without knowing who played it.

For example, if I’m the Judge, I place the Green description card for that round face up on the table ~ DELICIOUS.

Players look through their hands to see which of their cards is the most “delicious.”

Sometimes a player has an obvious match ~ LOBSTER or CHOCOLATE.


The game, with its countless permutations, is a metaphor for life. 

The cards you hold in your hand are neither “good” nor “bad.”  Standing alone, they mean nothing.

It’s the interaction and interplay between the description card, the subject cards tossed out by each player, and the Judge’s mindset at the moment that determines whether a player will “earn” the Green description card in a given round.

WORMS, POND SCUM, REGIS PHILBIN, OIL SPILLS, VINCENT VAN GOGH, RATTLESNAKES, and SCORPIONS are not the best subject cards for the description card DELICIOUS.

But what if the description card drawn that round had been DISGUSTING or DANGEROUS or INTENSE or FATAL or FAMOUS?

Winning Apples to Apples requires not holding “good cards” . . . but making the most of the cards you hold.

A bit like life, eh?

If our talents, skills, and abilities lie in the realm of cooking, food, and wine, we might excel as a chef, food critic, or sommelier, but be terrible (and miserable) as a lawyer, doctor, or shoe salesman.

Yesterday, before playing Apples to Apples, we attended a lecture by Dr. Tim Berra on Charles Darwin ~ a fascinating glimpse at the paradigm-shifting  research conducted by Charles Darwin in the 1800’s.

Darwin’s father and grandfather attempted to push Charles into the field of medicine so he could follow in their footsteps.  After two years, Darwin left the Edinburgh School of Medicine to attend the Cambridge School of Divinity.  A better fit, but not a perfect match.

While at Cambridge, Darwin met a botanist who supported his love of Natural History and  helped him set sail with the H.M.S. Beagle.

Darwin’s work, The Origin of the Species,  revealed that Evolution, Natural Selection,  and the Survival of the Fittest involve  an interplay.

It’s not WHO we are that determines our success in life ~ it’s the interaction and interplay between WHO we are and WHERE we find (or place) ourselves that determines whether we hold a winning hand.

We each bring something unique and distinct to the table.  If we hang on too tightly to what isn’t working, we lose the opportunity to gain that which is worth having.

Play your cards well.

Quote:  You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.  ~ Margaret Young

No rules.  Just write!

What about you? 

Is your life a custom fit . . . or do you sometimes feel like an Pineapple masquerading as an Apple?   

Related posts:    Paint Your World As You Want It * A Study Of Contrasts * Embrace Your Inner Calvin * Whose Shoes Are They Anyway? * Live Your Life



1. Debra - February 17, 2011

Well Done! I usually do not like card games….as you do have to have Good cards. And most of the time I am not even sure what a good card is. :):)

Yes if we compare apples to apples and life to life….we are in balance. Delicious 🙂

nrhatch - February 17, 2011

It’s a fun game for 8-10 people. The winner one game is apt to be the loser the next.

Because it’s all in the uncertain description cards over which no one has control.

2. Paula Tohline Calhoun - February 17, 2011

That sounds like a great game – my family would probably enjoy it! I’ll keep my eyes open for it.

That last line reminds me of “Dr. Phil” McGraw: “And how’s that workin’ for ya?” 😀

nrhatch - February 17, 2011

Dr. Phil has some great lines ~ usually filled with Dr. Phil’s sarcastic twang. 😉

Bloom where you are planted . . . but uproot yourself as necessary.

3. therunninggarlic - February 17, 2011

I played this game with my kids this past summer and what fun we had! I won the first go around which was funny since I took my time thinking alot, but maybe that was my edge! Fun, Fun Game and Great Post!
Debbie 🙂

nrhatch - February 17, 2011

We played Quick Draw rounds a few times last night ~ last card down is not judged.

It’s returned to the “slow poke” who played it and they sit out that round.

4. 1961 Girl - February 17, 2011

I love the sound of this game and will have to look out for it.

As someone who has spent most of her life masquerading as a pineapple when I’m really an apple, I totally understand the beautiful quote; You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.Thank you.
Juls 🙂

nrhatch - February 17, 2011

That quote sums it up nicely for me ~ if Darwin had gone in to medicine to please his father, he would not have been living HIS life. That’s not what he was here to do.

5. Carol Ann Hoel - February 17, 2011

I am a simple person. I am who I think I am. If I forget who I am, God remembers me (and will remind me, I hope). My choices, the good and the not so, determined many aspects of my circumstances, but they cannot change who I am. What I believe should determine how I act and what I do, and should influence the choices I make. (We can be so unpredictable sometimes.) I have control over some things, but there are always circumstance over which I have little or no control. Those uncontrollable factors are like the cards in your hand in the game of Apples to Apples. Smile and drop your best card. 🙂 Blessings to you, Nancy…

nrhatch - February 17, 2011

So true. We are the sum of our parts. When a GREEN card is played, we may have no control over whether it spells out LUCK or DISASTER.

Whichever it is, we need to look at the cards we hold to “do what we can with what we have where we are.”

Thanks, Carol Ann

6. viviankirkfield - February 17, 2011

I have never played this game…but will recommend it to my daughter and her husband…they and their friends are great game-players. 🙂

Not only does our “success” in life depend on what we want to be and how hard or smart we work at it…it also depends on where we find ourselves in this world…the family we are born to, the country we live in, etc.

And I guess that rattlesnakes might be “DELICIOUS” to some other animal…same goes for pond scum. 🙂 They do say that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. 🙂
Thank you so much, Nancy, for a wonderfully thoughtful post. I see I will have another blogger I need to follow on a daily basis!

nrhatch - February 17, 2011

Wow! Thanks, Vivian.

When I started this post, I didn’t set out to tie it to Darwin ~ either his niche in life, or the observations he made about Galapagos Islands, but it flowed in that direction as I wrote about interplay and interaction.

Darwin noted that the environment (the description cards) became the selecting agent for desirable characteristics in tortoises (the subject cards).

If we take a turtle suited to Island A (a lush island) and move him to Island B (an desert island), it may survive, but will not thrive.

The same is true for us when we are not “in our element.”

7. granny1947 - February 17, 2011

You have just reminded me.
One of my work friends brought me a big bag of apples from his farm yesterday.
I left them at work.
Wouldn’t mind one right now!

nrhatch - February 17, 2011

An apple a day keeps the doctor away . . . especially if they are Freshly Picked! Enjoy!

8. Julie - February 17, 2011

You know, I’ve seen this game all over the place and always wondered about it. Thank you for filling me in. sounds like fun!

nrhatch - February 17, 2011

Definitely a great party game ~ you need at least 4 people to play.

9. nancycurteman - February 18, 2011

Apples to Apples sounds like a game where people could sit around the table and philosophize as they play.

nrhatch - February 18, 2011

There’s lots of debating and campaigning to swing the judge’s vote. 🙂

10. theonlycin - February 18, 2011

What a fantastic game, I am off to see if they sell it on AMazon 😉

nrhatch - February 18, 2011

Good Luck!

11. Tilly Bud - February 18, 2011

Another fascinating post. I’m so glad you found me because that made me find you.

I love your blog.

nrhatch - February 18, 2011

Thanks, Tilly Bud! Right back at you.

The Laughing Housewife makes me laugh . . . unless I’m in a really sour mood, which is my problem, not yours, unless you elect to make it a personal challenge, which I would advise against for all the obvious reasons. 😉

12. flyinggma - February 18, 2011

Love your post this morning! My life is a work in progress for sure. There are times when I feel I have it all figured out and then one of the cards get dealt to me and I have to figure out what I am going to do with it.

Above all I try to be content in all my circumstances as I work through them. Having a good attitude in adversity is not an easy thing but it helps me see my progress in a positive light even if it is slow progress towards my goal.

There have been some unexpected twists and turns and some changes take longer than I ever thought they would but I like my life better now that I am doing the choosing of how it will be.

nrhatch - February 18, 2011

Thanks, Jeanne.

I try to go with the flow myself. When something is not to my liking or as I’d hoped, I try to imagine some benefit to me “down the stream.”

My life finally “fits” me ~ I’m on the right island. 🙂

13. Maggie - February 18, 2011

I love Apples to Apples! But I never thought of it as a metaphor for life! Nice post. 🙂

nrhatch - February 18, 2011

I doubt I would have either . . . except for the lecture on Darwin the same day.

The “survivors” are those best adapted to the specific environment or circumstances in which they find themselves. Life is in the interplay, intersection, and interaction between the WHO and the WHERE/WHAT.

14. kateshrewsday - February 18, 2011

Fan tastic post Nancy: I love the juxtaposition of the game and Mr Darwin. I love the thought that it is all about choices, this life path.

nrhatch - February 18, 2011

Thanks, Kate. I had fun writing this post ~ a bit of meandering and contemplating.

15. Naomi - February 18, 2011

Love this post, Nancy! That game sounds really cool and that last quote is perfect 🙂

nrhatch - February 18, 2011

Thanks, Naomi.

When we know WHO we are we know HOW to live. 😉

16. eof737 - February 19, 2011

Apples to Apples… I don’t know much about card games. Always fascinated though. 🙂

nrhatch - February 19, 2011

Play your cards well.

17. Penny - February 25, 2011

Apples to Apples, sounds like a good card game. It reminds of my life,making the most of what I have. Love the Quote: You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. ~ Margaret Young

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

It’s an awesome quote, as is . . . when we know WHO we are, we know HOW to live.

Another favorite: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

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