When it comes to menial household chores, there are a number of effective hacks to tackle the housework: keep on top of the daily tasks, remember to put salt on red wine stains, bribe the kids with their very own working toy hoover…
What you might not have considered, however, is using a quick game of Mario Kart.
For one UK couple, however, it’s the perfect way to decide who has to make a cup of tea or coffee – and they’ve played out the ritual for nearly 20 years.
Claire Monroe and Andy Bork from Harrogate play the Nintendo 64 classic every morning as the ultimate decider.
Claire, 54, said: “It started because it got to the point where we decided it was the fair way to decide.”
She added: “We’re very competitive.”
The couple have gone well and truly viral after their son, Louis Hvejsel Bork, posted an image of one of their duels on Reddit, where it was upvoted more than 100,000 times.
Mario Kart was a present for Louis and his sister Bridie back in 1999, and the battles between his parents emerged some time over the next couple of years.
“At the time I didn’t really think much of it, it seemed very normal,” he said. “Only until I was much much older, around university when I left home, where it would come up in conversation and the reactions were of ‘are you joking, your parents actually do that for tea?’, that’s when I realised.
“You always assume growing up that your parents are normal…”
“We do a grand prix for coffee or tea, and we do a battle for washing up, best of three,” Claire said. “And then if we’re in a rush we’ll just do a battle for teas as well. It’s all about time.”
If they’re too busy to play in the morning, they play later in the day instead.
And while the Mario Kart face-offs have been going on for the best part of 20 years, they are an updated version of a ritual that goes back even further, to when Louis and Bridie were babies.
“We used to play cards for who was going to get up to do feeding through the night,” Claire said.
Andy, 55, added: “It took too long. When we bought Mario Kart (for Louis and Bridie) it saved a lot of time. And it was more fun.”
As far as video games go, they are Mario Kart purists – aside from an ill-fated dalliance with Tetris back in the 1990s.
“That was a nightmare,” Claire said. “What an addictive game that is. We had to get rid of that because we were staying up until silly hours in the morning. It was outrageous.”
As for characters, Andy is a Toad devotee whatever the format, whereas Claire likes to mix things up.
“If I’m doing a grand prix it’s Yoshi. If it’s a battle it’s Wario,” she said. “I find Yoshi’s quicker and Wario, although he’s tough, he’s not very fast. On a battle, Wario’s good because he can give a good nudge if nothing else.”
The pair are reasonably evenly matched, though both agree Claire probably has the edge overall.
It’s about 65-35, according to Andy, though Claire claims he sometimes “takes advantage when I’m not well”.
And inevitably there are times when one or other competitor goes on a run of wins, meaning the other is left making the morning drinks for days in a row.
Does that cause any guilt or resentment?
“Me personally, I feel no guilt whatsoever because I very rarely win,” joked Andy.
And Claire said: “We do have streaks where there’ll be days where the other hasn’t won, but there’s no animosity because it’s done fair and square.”
As for Louis, he has a little way to go until he can match his parents’ Mario Kart skills.
“I do play whenever I’m home, which is a lot less than I’d like, but very rarely do I win,” he said. “Give me another 19 years.”
From: Evening Express