Happy Thanksgiving one and all. What are you thankful for?

Personally, I’m thankful for a lovely hubbie, a gorgeous daughter and son-in-law, and a great job. I’m also thankful that in my autumnal years, I am thankful for my love of reading, and games.

I love games. I was known, amongst that old gang of mine back in Sydney, as The Games Mistress. One memorable moment, as the majority of the gang was going to indulge in the newest sport of windsurfing at Clontarf beach, I arrived in full girls’ school PT uniform, a whistle and a tennis racket, loping along the sand shrieking Joyce Grenfell-like: “games anyone,” and carting gin and tonics to go around.

Many a dinner party, complete with place cards, candles and silver would quickly degenerate – or even generate, depending on the quality of the fodder I’d produced, into friendly combats of charades, Pictionary, Botticelli, or even karaoke-like rendition of California Dreaming. This was naturally accompanied by a band belting on tennis rackets, wooden spoons, saucepan lids and skillets – as it would.

Sir, in a crazy moment early on in our relationship, challenged me to a game of Scrabble. Well, I’m in! Having thrashed him convincingly, I can safely say the Scrabble board has remained in its pride of solitary place in the cupboard, only to be brought out one other time when Sir bet me about the color of a “double word” square. I lost, and six-months-worth of dishes later, I have not engaged in a wager against him since. Under any circumstances. Ever. So, I guess we’re kind of even on that score.

It will therefore come as no surprise to you that I have a number of electronic type games on my tablet and cell phone. Backgammon, gin, cribbage, hearts, trivia, golf – you name it, I have it.

My evening is not complete without a series of games before hitting the hay, and what I’ve noticed with them all is a pain-in-the-rear quantity of pop-up ads.

If you get a trivia question wrong – boom – up pops an ad. In between goes in the online Scrabble game, wallop – another ad. Launching backgammon, I’m faced with five separate offers to part with my money, and in cribbage, just when I’m about to magnanimously invite everyone to play, I’m faced with shoes and fashion.

So, what do I do? Throw a hissy fit and close the program, vowing never to play again? Nay, nay. I look for the inevitably visible black or white “x” which allows me to endure only three seconds of a commercial. I am so focused on finding the “x” – a bit of an advertising Twilight Zone Where’s Waldo – that I couldn’t remotely tell you what the ad is for. Not a bleeding clue, I’m telling you.

It must be a nightmare for advertisers. I worked for a big ad agency in Sydney way, way back before “taping a show” was even heard of, so you had a captive audience for your wares. Nowadays, you can be zapped over, or ‘x’d out before your audience is even aware of the product.

C’est la vie, ad bosses, c’est la vie. Let the games begin!

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedearkc@hotmail.com.