June 16, 2004

This morning on Sports Center, we got a three-second snippet on the Rock-Paper-Scissors national championship. Yes, there is a series of people who go to a big city and compete in Rock-Paper-Scissors. Naturally, I'm intrigued, so I've endeavored to find out more.

One thing to know about me is that I think mathematically and logically. And with that thinking, Rock-Paper-Scissors is a fair game of chance. It should be as predictive and as fair as a coin toss, or cutting for the higher card.

Try as I do to believe that this is the case, my real-world experience with RPS proves this to be false.

I know this because Mrs. skinnyonbenny and I use RPS to decide who does what undesirable task around the house, and time after time after time, I lose the goddamn game. Sure two computers will play, and each will win 1/3 of the time, lose 1/3 of the time, and tie 1/3 of the time. But humans aren't computers. We have tells.

So, these losers from all over have figured out that adding a human element to RPS allows you to develop strategy, read opponents, etc. Believe me, I would be the first to scoff at this as total nonsense if I didn't lose time after time. I've asked if I silently mouth "P A P E R" in slow motion as I beat my fist on my palm. I don't think it's that obvious, but it whatever it is, it's pretty darned clear.

Fortunately for me, the group that puts on this championship takes the game pretty seriously. They have a page of strategy that I can study, and there's even a ten-dollar book coming out about RPS strategy.

It is rather funny how seriously the people seem to take this game. Surely the stakes are never any more than figuring out who has to take out the trash, or which team gets the ball first in a pickup basketball game, right? But take a look at the pictures on You can't tell me that these people are just a little too serious about this. I like the captions. Things like, "Rock!!!"

And how about this site? Notice that when you follow this link, you are under a tab called "Serious." Furthermore, tabs called "Funny" and "Geeky" are open to the author, but the Rock Paper Scissors link is under "Serious."

I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head, so no, I'm not going to start studying up. But I would encourage any of you to look into this when you have some spare time. Maybe you can pinch hit for me, next time I face an RPS challenge.