Cat's Cradle

May 19, 1994

This is when you realize that girls know things you don't and they're not going to tell you what they are. They play complicated games of skill that aren't competitive, at least not in a way you can understand.

When boys play, they're learning to fight and kill. Boys are in constant deadly contention. Mock warfare shading imperceptibly into the real thing when they're yet scarcely out of short pants. Trying to impress the girls. Boys have no idea what to do with themselves.

Girls know what they're good for from the moment they're born. Girls are learning to cooperate. Desperately coming to an understanding that they each want something that the others want.

But the boys are getting good at hurting things and women need allies. They clump up in defensive herds. A sudden burst of squeals ascending through harmonics that only dogs and bats can hear. The swift, unexplained, unquestioned departure of one of their number from the classroom. Breasts. They're in, you're out.

Cat's Cradle is a children's game played usually by two girls, in which an intricately looped string is transferred from one child's hands to the others, resulting in a succession of different loop patterns.



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Cat's Cradle

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