Saturday, July 12, 2008

There's No Such Thing As a Winner

This was the unfortunate truth I learned yesterday while playing the ridiculous game of Phase 10. It's a misguided conception that the world needs winners. It is comparable to the difference between heat and cold. In 10th grade chemistry, you learn that there is no such thing as cold. There is only a lack of heat. So the ice cube I put in my drink yesterday after the card game wasn't actually cold, it was just less hot than my hand, the juice, and the ambient air around me.

So in the game of life, there are no winners. There are only those that don't lose. I wish I could say I was one of the latter, but sadly, I was a loser. But that's okay, because my role as a loser is more important than being a non-loser. I am able to keep the status-quo in check. By sacrificing my pride for a short duration, I can give others the joy of non-losing.

It's just too bad that every facet of American society is obsessed with getting this concept reversed. They feel that there are clearly defined winners, and that the other side of the coin are the non-winners. That's why the first place little league team gets a giant trophy, the second place team gets a smaller trophy, and every other team including the one with the blind left fielder which didn't win a game all season gets a "participation trophy".

The ultimate explanation for losing is death. As far as I know, there has only been one person who defied death, and depending upon who you ask, even that may not have happened. So that would make every other person who dies a loser. And anytime you don't die in life, that doesn't suddenly make you a winner; you just didn't lose at that time. And that's still fine with me.

But for some reason it is deemed acceptable to teach kids at an early age that there is no such thing as "losing"; that it is impossible to fail in life; that even if they don't succeed the first time, if they try hard enough they can get anything in life. These would all be nice sentiments if we lived in the fairy tale world of glass slippers and pumpkin cars.

But in the real world, there are losers. People do fail in their ventures (and should live with it and not hope the government will bail them out... but that's for another time). And some people just aren't meant to do certain things. As Judge Smails says in Caddyshack, "The world needs ditch diggers, too."

1 comment:

The cup is half full of something I don't like said...

Thomas Edison invented a working lightbulb after 2000 attempts, although I find the roundness of the number suspicious. When asked how he kept going after failing 2000 times, he said I didn't fail. I just invented 2000 ways not to make a lightbulb.