By Bryce Yoder

I don’t understand Jokers.

Their place in a deck seems like it went unchecked,

like the first man to make some playing cards forgot to inspect his work

cause Jokers get no respect –

as an avid amateur card player, I couldn’t name a single game where the inclusion of the Jokers is a necessity.

They are,

you might say,

the single most expendable thing ever made.

Even the deck itself doesn’t acknowledge the Jokers.

The deck proudly promotes itself and its fifty-two cards,

thirteen cards a suit

times four suits

that’s fifty-two cards

and we’ll gladly overlook the occasional rules card included as if someone can’t understand the purpose of playing cards

but by my count, we’re still missing two Jokers.

They’re there.

They’re always there.

But if they go missing, the deck isn’t ruined

if anything it’s actually for the better because now you don’t have to take out the Jokers every time you wanna play Go Fish! and because of this

I empathize with the Jokers.

Often forgotten,

seldom used.

In fact, even when they are used they rarely get to be themselves –

a quick Google search will politely inform you that the Jokers’ most common use is as a replacement for other lost or damaged cards,

lost or damaged cards that have value,

that is.

Jokers are chameleons.

They adapt and change their skin so that one day, maybe you’ll actually find a use for them.

Maybe one day you’ll make a game that features them prominently.

But until they’re needed,

they board themselves up in a cardboard prison,

waiting for the day you’ll need them or want them or at least have a half-ass use for them.

But I must admit,

while waiting for that day to come,

it is nice to have the company.