Play Too Much

Dear Terrence,

I watch you walking down the hall, getting upset by the least little thing, and I worry. Someone bumps into you, and you’re upset. Someone says something to you that you don’t want to hear, and you’re upset. Someone doesn’t do this or that, and you’re upset. And then today, you’re about to get into a fight because — because why exactly? I could never get more out of you than, “He play too much.”

Of course, you’re not the first to say that. I hear it a lot. “You play too much.” “They play too much.” “Mr. Jones play too much.” I hear it a lot, but I’m not sure what it means. I’m fairly certain you don’t mean that literally: I don’t think it’s the amount of time this or that person spends playing video games that upsets you. We’re not playing any sport in the hallway, so you’re not referring to that. What you must mean is that the person in question plays mind games too much. That’s the only thing I can figure. But an odd thing about mind games: they take two to play. So if he plays too much, if she plays too much, it only means that you’re playing along too much.

So he bumps you and perhaps it’s on purpose: it’s only “playing” if you play along. So someone says something you don’t like: it’s only “playing” if you play along.

Why not try ignoring the people who play too much? If they have no one to play with, they’ll go look for a new playmate. Simple.

Playfully,
Your Teacher

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