I think I’ve lost me marbles. It’s common at a certain time of life and I suspect I’m there or on my way. It all goes back to – well, marbles. I spotted some marbles I’d never seen before in my grand-kids’ playroom. Ah-hah I said, let’s play marbles and they obliged, never having done so before. The brightly coloured bullseyes and others had been stored up out of reach.
They were more ornaments than playthings. But I was about to change that. So the kids and I got down on the floor and began to play – except that I didn’t know how to any more. The last time I’d played was, umm… perhaps we won’t go into that, but it was around the time we still had trams.
Down on the carpet I remembered shooting and hitting the marble in the middle - but what came next? No idea – a complete blank. And so to save face as those young eyes searched mine, I invented a version which involved slamming the big marble in the middle with our smaller ones. The kids loved it, but it wasn’t marbles.
Back home the puzzle remained, so I went to that instant encyclopaedia, the Net. If babyboomers think for a moment that the game we played is dead and gone, the answer’s quite definitely, no.
My entry ‘how to play marbles’ provided… 1.8 million results. There are how to play videos (some elaborate, some showing how to in five steps).Wikipedia has an entry and so do dozens of toyshops selling marbles. There are marble tournaments (seriously) including the World Marble Championships.
I may have lost my marbles but the world has gained its own since I played. I now know that the rules involve a shooter and a circle and a whole lot of play variations in between. And I also realise that I still have my marbles. The reason I couldn’t remember how to play, was with all those rules - marbles was, and is incredibly boring. It’s up there with knucklebones. Far better to try to smash the marbles – but that’s it! That’s what we used to do. Now I remember how to play marbles.