Winning!

Jul 27, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: lit

So I downloaded a new app on my phone, “DrawSomething.” For the folks not in the know, it’s basically “Pictionary.” You pick a word from a list and draw it. The other person guesses, and they draw something, you guess and so on. Good times. But then something weird started happening. Instead of drawing, say, “igloo,” some people would just use their digital ink to write the word “igloo.” I’d receive it and type igloo for the answer. Pretty lame right? Several people did this when I was playing. Presumably, to get more points – which are essentially meaningless. What is the point of cheating when the fun part is drawing and guessing? Well, to win of course. Because some of us have to win. Now, I don’t mean some like to win – we all (with the exception of masochists) like to win. I mean they have to. You remember that guy right? The one in the playground or sitting by the board game, the ultra-competitive person who made other people laugh/shift uncomfortably with how much they wanted to win? Well, I fear we are becoming more like that guy. Little by little. And not for any good reason either…I mean, people will always be competitive when it comes to money or power. But we are starting to sacrifice more and more for less and less – as long as we are, in a very Charlie Sheen type of way, “Winning.”

But winning is in human nature, isn’t it? Absolutely. Winners are survivors. But I also remember a truthism from when I was growing up: It’s not if you win or lose, but how…you know the rest. I know, I know….trite, cliché drivel, right? But let’s give an example. If kids are playing tag, and someone always stays half a mile away from the person who’s “it”…sure they never get tagged. They “win’ but at what cost? They are not having as much fun as the others and unless they have some sort of asthmatic issue, there is no reason for them to be that far away and miss out on the fun of “losing” (getting tagged) and the victories of the near misses. If you cheat by wearing rocket shoes (which I desperately want), sure you win, but the others kind of hate you and will probably not invite you to play again. Why has winning become so much more important? If you doubt it has, just look around. Both democrats and republicans tend to sacrifice progress in order to beat the opposition – fighting not only during election season but also can’t be seen conceding even one point in a discussion because they are expected to appear to their constituents as “right” and beating their opponents at all times. Gaming terms like “Epic Fail” and “FTW” have entered the cultural lexicon to express approval and disapproval. We even discuss social situations like love triangles in winning and losing terms. Team whatever vs. Team who cares. Thank you Twilight. Winning has become very important. Why is that? I can only think of one reason.

We feel crappy about ourselves. We crave higher status constantly. We need these little victories to feel better about who we are. If that’s true, it’s pretty sad. We watch reality TV with people we don’t think much of get more than we ever will…making them simultaneous losers and winners – losers because they act horribly but winners because their actions are rewarded (They’re on freakin’ TV getting paid to be their crappy selves!) And because it’s cheap TV to produce, we are bombarded by it. Some of us even feel pressure to emulate it to some degree. You are “winning” at Facebook if you have over a thousand “friends” and you have a thousand pics of you and your friends “rocking it”. At the risk of sounding prematurely nostalgic, didn’t pictures use to be about capturing memories? I mean look at some pictures in Facebook – how many are of capturing something/someone memorable and how much is to show the intended “audience” how awesome that person’s life is?

Okay maybe I’m getting a little ranty and may not even be sure of my point…hmm…maybe it’s not a point, so much as a wish… a secret wish for people to take a second to ask themselves, do I have get the upper-hand in this situation? Do I have to pick a side to rail against and do I have the most important, valid, insightful opinion in the room about an issue? Is there a chance that the person I disagree with is making a little sense? Is it the thing being fought over that’s important to me or is it just about winning the fight? I’m calling for a collective picking of your battles. Once you put your weapons or megaphone down, and look around at what’s going on, you might realize that it could be more fun to just get in there and play tag.

Earn cred, share a bit.

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