The Next Level: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock


March 9, 2012 by Jay Helms

Last spring I had fun reading “Sports from Hell: The Search for the World’s Dumbest Sports Competition”. It includes an outrageously funny chapter on the World Sauna Championships…another about “Bull Poker” involving inmates and a wild bull…and one about a women’s football league in which the author gets hit so hard by one of the Samoan women that he learns the meaning of the word “Decleat”. But my favorite story is the author’s description of the Rock, Paper, Scissors World Championships in Toronto. According to Rick Reilly, there is one competitor “Johnny Bravo,” who travels with a posse to intimidate and harass opponents.


When he takes on an opponent, his associates chant “Not your fault! Not your fault!” over and over. When asked to explain the chant, one of his posse shares, “It’s not your fault when you lose to Johnny Bravo. He’s just that good.” Awesome! I love that. I’m gonna use that sometime if I ever manage to make a good play on the basketball court.

I tried playing Rock, Paper, Scissors recently against some friends at a gathering in Atlanta and against some neighborhood kids. I discovered that I am embarrassingly bad at it, and apparently there is nothing I can do to change that. To make matters worse, the harder I try and the more I think, the more I humiliate myself. Am I just destined to be a loser at this? It’s time to face the brutal facts. My tactics are ineffective. Every opponent I go up against seems to naturally know how to whip me.


I did not quit the game entirely, however. I accepted my limitations and changed the whole game with the neighborhood kids, taking it to another level all together…To the Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock level.

Sometimes, as in the case of Edward Scissorhands and myself, we have to stop playing the game as we have been playing it. It’s kind of like letting the old thing die. Actually, it is exactly that. And it hurts. Often enough, I have to let the old thing die in order to move forward. Then and only then, by humbling myself, taking a breath, looking around, and getting wise, a new game rises…one I can win.

As for me, now I’m whipping everyone who is willing to play me…that is, if they don’t remove themselves from my presence in a hurry with a concerned look on their face after I explain the game and invite them to play against me. And I’m looking for a few people to join me to stand against the enemy and chant “Not your fault!”…

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” — Jesus

2 thoughts on “The Next Level: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

  1. Mom says:

    How long did it take you to master this?

    • Jay Helms says:

      It was intimidating at first, but then it’s just more fun because there are less ties, where people do the same thing (rock and rock, etc…). We’re going to use this in the neighborhood family scavenger hunt race. You should try it with Anna sometime.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Jay Helms


Enter your email address to follow Echo and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 27 other followers

%d bloggers like this: