When I was 10 years old, my Dad sat my two older brothers and me down around a card table and taught us how to play 42 (the greatest domino game ever invented). It didn’t take 5 minutes to fall in love with the ‘National game of Texas’. It didn’t take 10 minutes to realize that under certain conditions, dominoes can be extremely difficult to shuffle. At family get-togethers, my Dad has used an entire can of baby powder trying to make the card table slick enough to ‘shake the bones’ (that is authentic Texan for shuffle the dominoes). So, I made it my personal mission to find the greatest shuffling dominoes on the planet.
My search led me to Hallettsville, Texas, the home of the Texas State Championship Partners Domino Double Elimination Tournament, the largest and most prestigious tournament in the state. By happenstance, I called in to make my inquiry three days before the annual tournament. Tensions were high in Hallettsville.
‘Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture,’ answered a very Hallettsvillian female voice.
‘Yes, is this the home of the 42 state championship?’ I asked.
‘Yessir!’ twanged back the woman with clear excitement in her voice.
‘I was wondering… do y’all have an official domino of the tournament?’ I asked.
‘What?! Ha ha!’ she cackled, ‘we just use any old regular dominoes. In fact, I’m cleaning up last years dominoes right now.’
I guess it was a bit ridiculous of me to expect as much for the State Tournament, but if she thought that that question was outlandish, there was no telling what she might do with the next one.
‘Umm…’ lots of throat clearing and stuttering followed as I mounted the courage to ask it, ‘…do you happen to know what the best domino is to shuffle?’
My suspicions were confirmed that I had just successfully asked her one of the weirdest questions that she had ever heard in her entire life when after a prolonged silence, she responded, ‘honey, I don’t have no earthly idea.’
The search continues…
(Story by Andrew Simmons)