Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Euchre? I Don't Even Know Her

I have a confession.

I'm a Lutheran who can't play euchre.

[sounds of bodies dropping to the floor in shock across the Germanic sectors of Christendom]

I so can't play euchre that I have absolutely no idea what the rules or the strategies or even the point of euchre are. I have had numerous people, kind and patient tutors all, plus Yahoo! robots, attempt to teach me euchre. They have all failed.

When someone tries to walk me though a game -- when they start talking about trumps and tricks and bowers -- each of my brain synapses turns into that guy in "The Scream."

I remember my college days, when I was involved with Lutheran Student Movement. A great bunch of kids; lots of enthusiastic euchre players. It would be 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning in some drafty lodge at a camp on an LSM retreat weekend and there they'd be, playing furiously through the night. Participants would tell me the next day that they were having lots of fun, although that wasn't very obvious during the game. I felt a mixture of mystery and frustration and jealousy and shame.

Now, I don't think I'm a dumb person. I understand geometry; I understand German (or used to); I understand how to plug electronics together and program them. I taught myself how to knit; how to knit mittens even. I can divide fractions. I can figure out ratios. I've read Chaucer. I put my computer desk together my own self. I can identify birds. I can bale hay. I can write press releases.

I can't play euchre.

And this bugs me. One of the things I hate the most is not being able to understand something. Which isn't the same as not being able to do something. It's the not understanding that gets me. It turns me ape-ca-ca crazy.

If any of you out there in the blogosphere can successfully teach me how to play euchre, I promise you three dozen homemade cookies. I will mail them to you. I'm serious. Teach me euchre. If you dare.


cheesehead said...

I love to play euchre. I met my spouse playing euchre--my people are euchre people. What I can't do is *teach*.

I felt kind of smug about euchre until I moved to Snow Belt. Here they play some abomination called Sheepshead. Queens are trump. Queens, I tell you!!! It boggles the mind.

Tom in Ontario said...


It took me a while to catch on but then I was hooked. I flunked a Calculus course in university because I skipped too many classes to play euchre in the student lounge.

I can teach you. Here or email?


Sheepshead is kind of similar to euchre, in the same vein. I knew it when I was a teenager but haven't played in 20 or more years.

LutherPunk said...

uh...what is euchre? My own Lutheranism is on precarious ground as it is, i don't need another strike against me.

Purechristianithink said...

I'm card-game impaired in general. Even for simple games like Gin or Hearts I have to have the rules reviewed for me every single time. Also I can never remember which poker hands are which. My father is a Bridge shark who could never figure out why I couldn't even grasp the basics of this game. I just say, "Some people can't remember jokes, I can't remember the rules to card games."

Rainbow Pastor said...

I have learned euchre...my three older sisters forced me to learn as soon as I reached the age of reason so they would always have four hands...but I didn't play after they left.

I had to learn again when I moved to River City, as it is a way of life here. I can play, but I have to really concentrate, and I feel very smug about going alone.

Now Hearts---I'm a killer Hearts player. When I went on the study trup to Poland, studying the Holocaust, Hearts was our stress relief at the end of the day. Love that one.

revabi said...

What is it? I feel totally out of it, and I am married to a man who grew up Luthern, and German at that.

Trish said...

Can I just have the cookies?

LutheranChik said...

You all are asking me what euchre is? Did you not read my post?!

People play in teams -- which is another stressor, because not only do you go down when you screw up, but you take your hapless partner with you. You take out all the cards in the pack except 10's, jacks, queens, kings and aces. The jack of trumps is the highest ranking card; the other jack of the same color is the next highest. There's bidding or passing, and people throw cards into the middle of the table, and sometimes you earn points doing this, and you keep playing rounds until one team has won so many points, and then that team wins, and then when you think, thank God Almighty it's finally time to quit and go eat or do something fun, it starts all over again. And again and again and again. And that is all I know. I have literally enjoyed myself more during oral surgery. But now I'm determined to learn how to play because, dammit, I am a smart person.

Trish: I'd love to, but...I'm a woman on a mission, with a timeline. I can't just be baking cookies for anyone anytime.

Bad Alice said...

I HATE card games. Hate them hate them hate them. I don't even like playing War with my kids. The only think I can bear is solitaire. This Euchre sounds too much like chess, which I also loathe, because I hate strategy. I'd rather just read a good book.

Bad Alice said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cheesehead said...

Um...don't forget the 9's. The nines are useful when you need to throw away a card, but you have already hopelessly lost the hand.

Or when trumping your partner's Ace, which will subject you to years of family ridicule.

Just sayin'...

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

Euchre, ..., thought I was died in the wool Lutheran, and I've never heard of it, even living in LutherLand and going to a LutherLand College. Didn't play cards in college; I studied! (Not everyone is a fast reader and great re-memberer, you know.)

But somebody mentioned Sheepshead. My parents and grandmother played somehting like Schafkopf, which would be German for sheeps head. But they didn't teach the kids. We could hear them talking and playing when we were upstairs in bed.

LutheranChik said...

"Trumping your partner's Ace"?

See -- you may as well be speaking in Urdu. I have no idea what that means. Although it sounds mildly naughty.

When people try to explain card games to me, it's like the Charlie Brown cartoons where the adults all make unintelligible noises: Wonk-wonk-wonk-wonk-wonk-wonk.

Susie said...

I love Euchre. But I didn't think it was a Lutheran thing... its definitely a Michigan thing though. But I dunno, I think euchre has to be taught in person. It took me several tries to learn.