In Mekkar’s culture even young kids bet on almost anything, sort of like their own version of
Vegas. They traded stuff all of the time after
becoming bored with those items. Constant trading and bartering of goods between
them was normal. Very similar to how kids used to swap baseball cards once upon
a time. The kids had created their own little item swap meet. Yet, very little
money exchanged hands. This was one reflection of a culture that avoids
unnecessary waste if possible. It is better than throwing it away when someone
else can use it for awhile longer, Mekkar reasoned.
One amusement involving Mekkar that he liked to participate in was referred to as the flash item memorization game. It was definitely another contest for money. Plus, he engaged in it with only his closest friends and on occasion his younger brother, Alf. Involvement included only individuals that he could trust. Only those he knew that would not cheat him or try to rip him off could participate. It consisted of one person who would flash a card, sticker, box, or another object for a specific amount of time. Sometimes, witnessing the article for as long as thirty seconds. The goal was to memorize as much as possible about the temporary flashed item.
After the object was taken away, the idea was to correctly recall the most information about that item. Identifying features were audibly spoken back toward the group. Even words, marks, scratches, and other detailed information would be described. Usually it was one individual against one other. Once in a while they might add a second or a few more to make it more interesting and compete for a larger prize amount. The others there not guessing acted as the judges. Some of the individuals there had photographic memory capabilities, so it was not as easy as it sounds. Competition became fierce because Mekkar always had the desire to conquer and win in every endeavor he partook in. The winner was determined by relaying the most details about the targeted item toward all that were there. The format was always winner take all in regards to the victor’s spoils, as many of these small contests were. The game was simple but challenging. Mekkar was pretty good at it when he was younger. But as he got older and received a few head blows from sports, he was less adept at it and never won that contest again.
Another time when the boys were figuring out a new activity to begin, they came up with this one, a race. Mekkar put on his skis, harnessed up his chosen reindeer, and took the reins. Next, he headed out to meet a few of his friends at their rough version of a race track set into the snow. Basically, it was just a fairly large open, flat area set in a small valley between the hills. The boys raced for money. At the same time, it was a dare and a challenge. Mekkar knew that rejecting a challenge was socially unwise among his peers. Activities like this are just what boys do. In this instance he was pitted against his older best friend Lasse. This time they all decided on the large, sort of oval shaped, open course about five kilometers (3.1 miles) in size. The group began clearing away as many small potential obstructions as they could from the track
The race began and the animal was soon pulling the racers behind them up to 48.28 Kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour). The speed could have been faster in Mekkar’s estimation. At top speeds, it was a matter of just holding on and hoping not to crash or wipe out. Mekkar was ahead in the two lap race and as he was on the last lap in sight of the finish line, he looked back at Lasse. Outwardly when he peered at Lasse, it was a glance of I am kicking your butt. In reality, Mekkar was just holding on for dear life and didn’t feel that he was in complete control of the situation. Of course, he wasn’t going to let everyone there know that.
Trouble was his glance caused a shift where he slightly leaned too much to his right and forced him to lose control. All of a sudden, Mekkar flipped, then rolled and rolled finally coming to a stop. He landed with a thud in the bushes and small trees off to the side of race course. During his tumble, Mekkar had heard the sounds of branches breaking off as he furled past. One of the twigs had penetrated and partially broke off in his wrist. Mekkar felt that he also did more damage to his wrist as it might be broken too. He felt the physical pain. However, he was more embarrassed because he had bit the dust in front of his friends. He was also ticked off over losing a race when he was in the lead and felt the win was in the bag. Plus, no cash prize for him further irritated Mekkar. All competitors contributed their share toward the grand prize. Especially, when there were multiple people racing or a series of races consisting of one-on-one. The award for finishing first was winner take all and the losers go back home empty handed with less pride.
At that point, Mekkar wasn’t thinking straight. He wished there was more than two people in that last race and thought it would be best having a different payout system. Comparable to a horse or dog race have Win, Place, and Show payouts with everyone contributing. Contrary to his desire, it was always winner takes all and the losers go home with no cash and no pride. Mekkar knew this, but he just didn’t want to accept it at that point. Plus, the injury pain started to get worse and wake him up to the reality of his situation.