The One-Up Game

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Some of my girl-friends and I like to play "The One-Up Game". When we were Master's students at CU (the only school that feeds it's mascot to it's students - Go Buffs!) I invented this game because it seemed like whenever we got together at happy hour, everyone wanted to vent about something but was too polite to do it.

The rules are simple - everyone vents with the intention of having the worst story. And the beauty of the game? Everyone wins. If your story isn't as bad as another, then lucky could have been worse. If your story is the champion? Then yea, you win. And there are some hilarious tales. Previous winner? Having a student who still shits his pants in 3rd grade.


This conversation had been brewing for days and I finally caved because you know what? Fuck it. I deserved some cheap entertainment, even if it was a little cruel. Yes, I know better. I would never compare natural birth to a cesarian. I don't like to compare. I don't like to compare kids, I don't like to compare incomes, I don't like to compare, as E would say, no anything. Period. There are too many factors and too many variables.

So don't come to me and try to tell me about how natural birth is sooo much worse than a cesarean when you have never had a c-section. And if you want to keep pushing the subject, hormones are spastic, physically I've never felt worse in my life, and while I couldn't be happier to have a healthy baby who sleeps and a 2 yr old who is doing his best to accomodate her, I can't help but take the bait. But prepare to be used for my personal entertainment. That's all I'm saying.

Anyway, here's the conversation as close to accurate as possible:

"You know, natural birth is so much worse than a c-section. You really should consider yourself blessed." (Yeah, blessed.)
"You think? How so?"
"Well, besides the hours of labor and pushing, I had (gasp) hemorrhoids."
"Oh. Well, isn't Percocet great? I mean, I'm sure they gave you narcotics for that."
"Well, no."
"Did you have a horrible reaction to the anesthesia? Isn't it heart-breaking to spend the whole first day of your baby's life puking and passing out?"
"Well, they didn't have to give me anesthesia."
"Oh, so you never felt like your ribs and lungs were caught between two steel plates? That's good."
"Well, I was out of breath going up and down stairs. But I guess that was just while I was pregnant...and just at the end."
"So how do you get rid of the hemorrhoids? Didn't they have to do surgery?"
"Well, no they go away on their own."
"I'm sure it sucked not to be able to drive for a couple of weeks, though. I know that's going to be really hard for me."
"Um, I could drive just fine. Well, I did have to sit on a pillow."
"What did you do for your edema?"
"What's edema?"
"Oh, you know. When your ankles swelled up from all the iv fluids they had to give you."
"I didn't get an iv."
"How long did it take for your digestive system to get back on track?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know, when did it stop hurting know...have bowel movements and pass gas?"
"Oh. Um, I never had that problem. I mean, it hurt when I had um, bowel movements but only because of the hemorrhoids."
"Yikes. That's gotta suck. Well, it's so hard not to be able to go home and pick up your first born, isn't it? It tears my heart to pieces. E so desperately needs to be picked up and snuggled and I can't do it, not to mention how inconvenient it is."
Clears her throat. "I was able to pick up Tom (not his real name) by the time I got home. I didn't realize you couldn't pick E up."
"Yeah, and it's when he needs it the most. Well, how did your veins do for your blood transfusion? My veins held up ok but a week later I'm still symptomatic. I'm always short of breath and my heart is racing - it's like a perpetual adrenaline response. I needed 4 bags of blood, but they agreed to give me only two because of the risks. It sucked, huh?"
"Really? I didn't have to have a blood transfusion. I didn't realize..."
"Didn't you lose a lot of blood with your hemorrhoids?"
"Um, no. I mean...I mean, they are blood clots. But they didn't bleed. They just hurt a lot. They gave me medicated wipes for them and that helped."

Ok, so sidenote. At this point, I'm laughing pretty hard on the inside. Like I said, I feel guilty for taking advantage of this person, especially since she is not a Charter Member of The One-Up Club. To her this isn't a fun, win-win-win game between friends. But I reminded myself that she means well and that her beliefs are based on ignorance.

I mean, this is the person who frantically forwards every urban legend email that comes her way. Using your Swiffer causes cancer!?! Send! Gang members drive without headlights on and kill anyone who flashes them!?! Send! Some brands of cat litter are radioactive!?! Send! Send!!! SEND!!! If I didn't intervene on a regular basis, she'd be a Nigerian millionaire by now. Her house would be full to the rafters with Sham-wows and space-saving hangers and she'd be walking around her living room wearing a Snuggie.

So yes, I feel bad for letting the conversation go this far. But like a ninja using the attacker's momentum against him, I was taking this opportunity to help her debunk her own myths. Remember, I didn't want to have this conversation in the first place. I'd been side-stepping it for days. But I digress...

"I didn't realize that you'd had it so rough. I mean, I heard about the blood loss and poor B losing so much weight - that must have been soooo scary! - but I didn't realize..."
"Yeah, well..." And this is where I resisted the urge to say "Well, your hemorrhoids sounded horrible." No, instead, I did as I usually do.
"Yeah,'s amazing what we do for a tiny little human being who poops and pees and cries all the time, huh?"
I could hear the relief in her voice.
"Yeah, it is amazing. And B is beautiful. I still can't believe how much hair she has. Did you have terrible heartburn?"
"Actually, it wasn't that bad till the very end."
"Really? You're so lucky. Because I had the worst heartburn ever..."

You're doubtful, aren't you? You can't believe that after all that, she wanted to play The One-Up Game with our pregnancies. Well, she did. She went on to tell me how much worse her pregnancy was than mine, even though she knew very little about my experience. But I just nodded along with feigned interest and hoped against all hope that even a tiny little bit of our conversation made an impression on her. And if it didn't? Fuck it. I got some cheap entertainment and for a few minutes, I'd forgotten that my ankles looked like two hams with vienna sausages for toes and that I was a hideous shade of yellow. And anyway, I'm pretty sure I would won the game with this one.* Yeah. Pretty sure.

- Have a magnet on your fridge that says "Ignorance is Bliss"
- Are male and related to me
- Have not had children yet

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