Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Got Your Rocks? Got Your Paper? Got Your Scissors? You’ve Got The Keys To World Peace!

The AFP news service and Reuters reported that in Toronto this past weekend The World RPS Society held a rock, paper scissors tournament. The RPS Society held the event in the hopes that it will inspire people to use it more often to settle disagreements. The event has been held since 2002. The 500 players were RPS’ing for the world championship and the 10,000 Canadian dollars that went with it.

Almost every child the world over knows how to play RPS, whether it’s being played as a game or to determine who gets the upper bunk. Heck, Reuters reminds us that James Bond even played it in “You Only Live Twice.” If James Bond can play RPS, well enough said. I’ve played it a few times but not to settle a difference I had with someone. To do that, I just use money, usually fives or tens. I think if every child were taught to use RPS as a form of conflict resolution, the world would be a better place. Besides, you don’t always have a quarter or other coinage around when the really tough decisions need to be made. There is a pending bill that would use RPS to break stalemates in congress and my employer has listed it as an alternative to conflict resolution.

It’s not widely known, but RPS has been used on the national and international stage more frequently that previously thought. Although Castro is ailing and won’t admit it, (that reminds me, I’ve got to finish my Disneyland Cuba post) the Cuban Missile Crisis was determined by the American and Soviet ambassadors playing a best of seven RPS game. Although both Kennedy and Khrushchev took the secret to their grave, it’s now known that America needed the seventh and final game for the win. Ditto with the falling of the Berlin Wall, although most scholars believe Gorbachev threw the match because he wanted the wall down anyway. Back in 2000, the Republicans made an offer to the Democrats to settle the election by RPS but by the time they made the offer, America was already caught up in the differences between a hanging chad and a dimpled chad. My friend dated a dimpled Chad once, but that’s pretty inconsequential. Our Founding Fathers used an older version of RPS – rocks, paper, shears – to determine whether to call our nation The United States of America or These Colonies Rock. It should be no surprise that Ben Franklin was the one who nominated These Colonies Rock. Something else historians won’t tell you is that if it had not been for a badly played ‘paper,’ Wilbur Hempshaw would have been the first man on the moon instead of Neil Armstrong.

I’m still not completely up on the rules of RPS, but I think rock beats everything. Doesn’t it? Although in the real world, you could do a lot more damage and get a lot more credibility waving a pair of scissors around than you would with a rock. If you’re the dude holding up a piece of paper in the real world, it had better say ‘I am holding a small poorly constructed nuclear device,’ because no one is going to give the guy waving a piece of paper around much of a chance.

RPS is a great idea for folks to use in resolving simple conflicts, but as we progress further into the 21st century, maybe it’s time we update RPS. The rock should be replaced by a Lucite sphere paperweight, the paper should be replaced by a Palm Pilot and the scissors should be replaced by a Ginsu knife; after all they can cut through anything. This will help future generations better understand the dimensions of the game. Don’t worry; we’ll still call it RPS instead of LPG.

As for the winner of the RPS tournament, I’m really not sure. Last I heard, it was going smoothly until about round seven. Apparently, there was a pretty big disagreement about paper vs. rock and the timing of when the paper signal was presented. When the ref tried to settle the disagreement by using RPS himself, one of the competitors became enraged, took to fisticuffs and in an odd twist of fate, the tournament ended in a brawl. Ok, yeah, I made that up...


Aisby said...

I heard the retired world champion RPS player on NPR the other day. I couldn't believe that was a story that NPR was actually covering. If it hadn't sounded so serious I would have laughed my butt off.

Tracy said...

Fascinating commentary on one of the great art of RPS. I've found it best to stretch the fingers out before extended play---helps maintain flexibility and speed in the touchy tie situations. The tease about Disneyland Cuba has me intrigued...I will wait with baited breath.

Odat said...

I was laughing when I heard this on the news..thinking you may do a post about it...i'm glad you did!
LOL. I think I'm going to use this in my job to handle decisions that must be made!


Lizza said...

Paper beats rock! Yep, RPS would be a great way to resolve conflicts. Then everyone can go have a drink right after. :-)

Danny Tagalog said...

Hey! Great post. The Japanese use this more than most I wager. In classes it is a wonderful way to get stuidents to take up roles they wouldn't necessarily do if asked directly.

1. "saisho wa guu!" (最初はぐう!)

* Starting with the stone

2. "jan ken pon!".

On "pon", the players show a fist for "rock" (guu/ぐー, "rock"?), index and middle fingers extended in a V for "scissors" (choki/ちょき, "scissors"?), or all fingers extended for "paper" (paa/ぱー, "paper"?). The exchange is won as determined by the rules:

Ties are broken by repeated plays, either accompanied by two more fist pumps with "aiko desho!" (あいこでしょ!, "aiko desho!"?) ("isn't that a tie!") or the more rapid single-pump with "pon!". There exist many other less popular regional variations


It seems that the majoroty of Japanese do this at least once a week.

In England we used to do: PSS (paper, scissor, stone)...

mist1 said...

Last time that I played with rock, I ended up in a 12-step progam. I call paper this time.

Kristin said...

I've been trying to teach my three year old son to play this, but he always waits to see what I picked before he makes his choice.

His other favorite game is called "Underwear". He hides under something, and then he says, "I'm under here!" Then I say, "Under WHERE?" Then he laughs because I said underwear. Preschoolers are amazing.

ShadowFalcon said...

There are RPS clubs? We don't have any here, no fair!

jbwritergirl said...

I think the Republican Party has been using this game to decide what to do in Iraq. I believe they also use other games as well, including Twister, Boggle and Clue. LOL