My sons and I played Magic over the weekend. I complained about not drawing enough lands. My elder son says, "That's called being mana-screwed. You're mana-screwed, papa." I laughed. It was the same term back in 1994-1995 when I last played Magic.

   There is a concept called the noosphere, a sphere of mind or thought enveloping the globe. It consists of all of the ideas currently circulating, each of these ideas considered an entity unto itself. Language for example spreads from one person to another as they learn it. As long as someone can speak it, the language lives. Ideas can out live us too. The first speakers of English died a long time ago, but we still speak it today. Thus ideas can be considered to have a life of their own and all of them together are like a layer of information circulating around the globe, which someone once called the noosphere.

   So, the phrase, "mana-screwed", has had a life of its own, passing from person to person in the noosphere. 25 years ago I learned it from someone at Cafe Roma in Davis. In the past year, the same idea entered my son's head, and then this past weekend he reshared this same idea with me, believing he was teaching me his own secret knowledge. This happens all the time with regular words, but this phrase is unusual, being special to Magic. When I learned it, "mana-screwed" was purely a word of mouth phrase. Now with you-tube videos, internet, in addition to kids playing magic at their schools, it is much harder for me to pin down how it reached my son.

   When I was 6, my best friend and I invented a game called "kick-back". Kick-back is kinda like soccer with two goalies in the middle of the street. You have to kick the ball past your opponent from a distance, but it can't be over their head. Other kids learned it. Other kids probably invented it. Some years later when I was 12 or 13, I was playing on an adjacent street with kids I just met, and one of them suggests, "Lets play kick-back". I said, "My buddy and I invented that game." "No, we did. We've been playing it for awhile now." "So have we." and so it went back and forth. I don't know who invented that game, though my best friend and I did have the idea before that kid did. We couldn't recall anyone playing the same game in our neighborhood before us. But perhaps some older brother had invented it earlier and passed it on. I don't know. I don't know where the idea came from.