01 June 2013

Trivial Pursuit

I was a young adult at the height of the Trivial Pursuit craze.  Geography was my favorite category.

I remember finding out that there was more than one set of boxed questions when I got invited to play the German version.  All of a sudden, I was thrown into SPD and CDU questions rather than Democrat or Republican.  Pop Culture included some of the first German-language TV and radio shows, and History meant, in large part, German history.  All of a sudden, whatever sense of mastery I had was thrown out the window.  I still did well enough at Geography, but what did I know of hot-shot players in the 2. Bundesliga in the '60s or the Prince Archbishop of Magdeburg back in the day?

It strikes me that we are, all of us, in a somewhat similar situation in our everyday life as well.  Each of us has, as it were, our own boxed set of ideas, memories, expectations and wants.  We think we know it inside and out (though there are always a few surprises!).  Get exposed to a different box, however, and we lose our bearings, prove our limitations, find ourselves knocked down a peg or two.

I've added a few boxes to my repertoire over the years, but only a few.  I watch other people play out their cards and know that those are not part of my set.  I can never master them all.

So I dream of being box free, and I wonder if that's possible.  Actually, I know it's not.  Who am I kidding?

It's probably enough to know that mine is a box or two among many.  It's probably enough to not attach any significance to the fact that I play my box particularly well or another's box particularly poorly.  And it's probably enough to know that, at the end of the day, it's only a game, a trivial pursuit, if ever there was one!

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