The muddle and mystery of ‘misfits’


20131221-150751.jpgHere are the results of a matching card game called ‘Misfits’ from the 1960’s that I recently played with friends. Scoring is only achieved if you can match both legs, allowing endless odd combinations above the waist line. It’s interesting to note the lack of women (except for a token ‘exotic’ woman from honolulu) and the controversial representation of a black character, though you could say that no one fairs very well – they’re a motley crew.

More broadly the game also reminds us of how random and accidental our own characters are. We’re all misfits in some ways and our parts can change, sometimes matching harmoniously with one another and other times causing discordance, depending on the hand we’re dealt at the time. Virginia Woolf in Orlando says the most wonderful thing about nature and unpredictability:

“Nature, who has played so many queer tricks upon us, making us so unequally of clay and diamonds, of rainbow and granite, and stuffed them into a case, often of the most incongruous, for the poet has a butcher’s face and the butcher a poet’s; nature, who delights in muddle and mystery, so that even now (the first of November, 1927) we know not why we go upstairs, or why we come down again, our most daily movements are like the passage of a ship on an unknown sea, and the sailors at the mast-head ask, pointing their glasses to the horizon: Is there land or is there none? to which, if we are prophets, we make answer “Yes”; if we are truthful we say “No”; nature, who has so much to answer for besides the perhaps unwieldy length of this sentence, has further complicated her task and added to our confusion by providing not only a perfect ragbag of odds and ends within us—a piece of a policeman’s trousers lying cheek by jowl with Queen Alexandra’s wedding veil—but has contrived that the whole assortment shall be lightly stitched together by a single thread. Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that. Memory runs her needle in and out, up and down, hither and thither. We know not what comes next, or what follows after.”

The unpredictability of the game, and of life, is what keeps us coming back for more, surely. With Christmas just 3 days away I hope there is game playing opportunities a-plenty so here’s to reshuffling the pack, dealing the hand and making the best of what we have and what comes next.

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