Once upon a time, probably nowish, there was a woman named Agatha Renee. One day, Agatha woke up to realize it had been an incredibly long time since she had played. Sure, she played with the child of the house, and would toss a stuffed weasel around with the youngest of the furry housebeasts from time to time, but this play was never something she started. She realized she had always waited to be prompted to play and enjoy playing the way others seemed to do so naturally.
Agatha sat down in her big fluffy armchair and said for no one to hear (except for the furry housebeasts), “I think I ought to learn how to be playful. I don’t know that I played as a child. I was always criticizing other children for being too childish. I do seem quite dreary, don’t I?”
The elder furry housebeast looked on as if to say, “Lady, I don’t much give a shit, but I could probably use another benadryl because my leg is itchy.”
The younger furry housebeast cocked his head at an angle as if to say, “I will devour the souls of a chipmunks, and then I will lick your face.”
Agatha was quite distressed. Not only did she not know how to play anymore, but her dogs were clearly the best/worst Odd Couple ever. She decided that she must go on a quest to discover anew how to play …
But how? As resident curmudgeon, Agatha had no idea how one learned to play? She found herself annoyed by many of the things that other people used as their avenues to playing.
She went first to the Hula Hoop Forest, but quickly realized she did not know how to hula hoop. It looked fun, but she did not have a hoop that day, and her rainbow legwarmers were in the wash. She vowed to return one day. Perhaps that would be her play.
As she left the forest in search of the Board Game Swamps, she found a merry band of bicyclers. She hid in the bushes as they rushed past, for she did not like riding a bicycle. She found it to be a terrifying insanity akin to roller skating: an activity rich with her own broken bones from that one time at a Girl Scout lock in. “Madness lies that way,” she muttered, then probably said a bunch of curse words, as Agatha was wont to do.
When she arrived in the Board Game Swamps, she settled into a game of words. However, when one of the swampfolk attempted to play a proper noun on a triple word score, she felt the first sharp tingling of her berserker rage surfacing. She was far too competitive to call board games “play,” as they were more realistically a battlefield to the death, especially if she’d had a bit too much swamp mead (or rum, the fairy tale word for rum. It’s probably just rum, isn’t it?).
Disheartened, Agatha returned to her castle, certain that she’d never play. She was too scared, too ungraceful, and too rule-bound to ever really play. As she stepped through the door, she saw that the magic mirror lay shattered across the floor. “Young housebeast, did you do this?” she asked.
Young housebeast looked on blankly as if to say, “I am the destroyer of magic mirrors, and now I will do a silly dance.” And then he did a silly dance that involved a lot of the young beast pretending that he were bipedal.
“No matter,” said Agatha. She brought out some glue, and some grout from the Mystical Hardware Store, and got to work. As she created a mosaic from the magic mirror, she realized she was singing. Singing and smiling. And playing.