Gaming the System

One of the class features of geeks is +5 with Gaming the System. Since geeks emphasize elegance, they generally only bother when the benefit is sufficiently large. Or when they are making a point.

At my kids’ school there is a formalized recognition of good behavior. In my youngest’s class, one name is drawn from the week’s recipients for a prize. Probably from an attempt by the teacher to catch them being good, the ill-behaved kids get recognized more frequently than the well-behaved kids. My youngest, a member of the latter, expressed irritation at this inequality. In an attempt to soothe him, I told him that the system often is unfair and one approach is to use this against it by gaming the system. I was pleasantly surprised when a fortnight later my spouse reported that he had talked about “gaming the system”.

Wii Fit has a balance game that tests the user’s ability to sit still enough to keep their center of balance within a target deviation. The kids informed me yesterday that my spouse now had the record of seventy-eight minutes straight on that game. They stacked pillows (and probably other objects) on the Wiibleboard until it registered a person sitting on it and then left it alone for the afternoon. They proudly announced, “We gamed the system.”

Color me proud.


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