Headlock Press

Writing That Grabs And Holds

Home Games (Notes from the Compound)

The Greatest Compliment I've Ever Heard
Paul Agostino (Featuring Henry Agostino)
Back when my friend Jimmy and I were in our early 20’s, Trival Pursuit was a popular new board game, and we decided to learn how to play. Neither Jimmy or I were board-game types, but we both had girlfriends and a lot of time to fill with them -- and not much money to fill it with -- so we figured we’d give it a shot. (Hey, it beat Scrabble -- and Pictionary hadn't been invented yet, thank God.) I enlisted my younger brother, Henry, to teach us how to play the game. Henry had been a history buff since childhood and was good at Jeopardy and other trivia games. Especially when money was involved. In this case, Henry wanted to play for 20 bucks a man, and he would spot us points. ("Just to make it interesting," Henry said.) But I said no dice. Henry was in high school at the time, and was making most of his spending money by writing other students’ history papers for them. (This was in the days before computers and cut-and-paste plagiarism.) But Henry couldn't resist a game of chance, and what he made in forgery, he lost on Lotto. So he had to find other ways to come up with cash. And this was one of them. I told Henry we only had seven bucks between us, but we'd put five of it up out of courtesy. Henry wasn't happy, but what could he do?

Make quick work of us, that's what.

Henry answered question after question like he knew they were coming and wound up beating us both in 10 minutes. I would say that Henry hustled us, but Jimmy and I played with the same dice Henry did, and picked from the same cards. To tell you the truth, I'm still not sure, to this day, whether Henry rigged the game or not. In any case, when Henry got finished giving us our 10-minute schooling and announced the game was over, my friend Jimmy, a big, strapping, weightlifter-type, jumped up from his chair. He looked down at the gameboard, looked at me, then looked at Henry and said, in an awe-struck, basso-profundo bellow, “THAT’S NOT NORMAL!”

Letters to Editor  commented on August 19, 2017 :
Paul Agostino: Am I exaggerating, Jim?

Keith Szczepaniak: No you are not. To this day, it remains the greatest board game mystery of all-time.

Paul Agostino: Man, you've spoken in reverence about my brother Henry ever since. It's so funny to hear you tell the story to other people. It's like you're reliving it and are shocked all over again.

Keith Szczepaniak: Shocked AND amazed.

Paul Agostino: I just finished this little story now, though I've been laughing about it for 30 years. You must be some kind of inspiration to me. A muse. I find that troubling.

Keith Szczepaniak: What is a muse, exactly?

Paul Agostino: Kind of like a fairy godmother for creative-types.

Keith Szczepaniak: That is troubling.
Michael  commented on September 13, 2017 :
How many people in the world do you know that can name all 45 vice-presidents? Or, say, each president's secretary of state? It's a no-win game, and the guy doesn't even drink anymore. If I were elected president, I would hire Henry to be press secretary, just so I could see him on camera sniffing at Katie Ter's insignificance.
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All Saints' Day (Featuring Henry, Betty, and Co.) - Paul Agostino - November 02, 2017
All-Star (Featuring Irene, Sal, and Gabriel) - Paul Agostino - November 02, 2017
Henry and Me and a Date with History - Paul Agostino and Thomas Henry Eggbert Agostino - August 28, 2017
Mama's Little Baby - Paul Agostino (Featuring the Agostino Family) - August 20, 2017
The Greatest Compliment I've Ever Heard - Paul Agostino (Featuring Henry Agostino) - August 19, 2017
Family Portraits, 8: As My Father Used to Say to Me - Paul Agostino (#2, The Peacemaker) - August 09, 2017
Family Portraits, 7: The Green-Eyed Monster - Gabriel M. Agostino (#1, Mr. Make Believe) - August 08, 2017
Family Portraits, 6: The Land of Fun - Paul Agostino (#2, The Gifted One) - August 06, 2017
Family Portraits, 5: Don't I Deserve A Participation Ribbon? - Lawrence J. Agostino (#6, Mama's Little Baby) - August 05, 2017
Family Portraits, 4: Talking Back to Refrigerator Magnets - Ferdinand L. Agostino (#4a) - August 03, 2017
Family Portraits, 3: My Brush With Fame - Betty S. Agostino (#3, Dad's Favorite) - August 01, 2017
Family Portraits, 2: Thank-You Note - Henry E. Agostino (#4b) - July 31, 2017
Family Portraits, 1: My Mother, the Taskmaster - Gabriel M. Agostino (#1, Mom's Favorite) - July 30, 2017
Classroom Clippings, Part 2: 4:55 - Michael Cummings (Intoduction: Paul Agostino) - May 25, 2017

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