Winning The Game
You know how we translate age for dogs and cats? Like “Old Jasper is 82 in dog years…”
Well, if there is not an age-equivalency term for electronic equipment, there should be. Maybe we could call it nano-years. “This old phone?… It’s 107 in nano-years” – which in human chronological terms means: it’s three.
So on to the story…
My old phone was 347 in nano-years, and a few weeks ago, it sent me a text message saying, “That’s enough, lol” (my phone thinks it has a sense of humor) – and turned itself off. For good.
Now I get swindled all the time by salespeople, because my hereditary niceness makes me a poor negotiator. And also because I am an old lady, and old ladies get taken advantage of as a matter of normal business practice.
So my husband brought me to the phone store that gave him a very good deal, determined to get me a good deal too (which I did not have with old GrandpaPhone).
The sales associate was a nice Hispanic woman. Right away, I was relieved. Those young conceited techno-geeks that usually work in these places always make me feel like I have to pretend to be knowledgeable or something. When down deep, I am sure that all this stuff inside my phone and television and computer is a bunch of magic sauce.
I didn’t have to pretend to understand what a gig or a ram or a cloud might be (although I am partial to the puffy clouds over the stringy ones). I could let my husband pretend. He may actually know, but I have no way of checking this out, which probably takes the pressure off of him too.
The nice saleswoman asked me what I wanted, and I said, “I want it to have a very good camera because my dog Theo is a Twitter celebrity.” Since my dog is more famous than me, I figured it didn’t hurt to name-drop.
“Okay,” she said, “what else?”
“Well,” I said, “my old phone was all filled up, so I would like one that is roomier.”
She didn’t laugh at me, like a techno-geek would have, although she may have stifled a chuckle. “Understood,” she said. She pointed to a phone. “This one.”
“Okay,” I said, using the sum total of my negotiating skills.
So I have a new phone!
Since it’s much roomier than my old phone, I decided to add something I was never able to download on my old phone: a game.
I looked at a bunch of different gaming apps, and I chose one that looked interesting. It’s an interior design game. They give you a room, and you pick colors and textures and art to enhance the space. Other users vote on the best designs.
But there’s a problem (besides being a huge time-suck). I suck at this game.
I am becoming increasingly frustrated. My designs are beautiful – but no one else thinks so.
I am ready to delete the game.
However, just yesterday, I realized that this game is important. It’s a perfect metaphor for real life.
It’s amazing, really.
First of all, there are no penalties for not playing by the rules. Because no one voting knows what the rules are. One particular competition may say, “One item should be pink.” But then the designs are shown to the voters with no explanation. No pink, no problem. In real life, people often win by ignoring the rules.
Next, there’s an advantage to playing it safe. The winning designs are almost always beige. Or grey. Oh yes, better fit in, better blend in. Stand out too much and you’ll look weird.
Then there’s money. You have to buy the paint, curtains, upholstery, rugs, art, vases, and pillows. They give you a considerable amount of play money to buy your stuff. But – all the good stuff is locked, and you can’t get it unless you upgrade your status – with REAL money. I am not paying real money to win fake money. So I have to use the same boring materials over and over again. Just like in real life, rich folks have an insurmountable advantage.
But here is the critical life lesson: What am a willing to do to win?
I can play the game to please myself. Choose the materials – however limited my selection – that excite me, and use them in ways that make me happy. And lose.
Or – I can study previous contests, determine what other people like, and design something that will please the voters. And win.
That’s pretty much what I have been doing my whole life. Subjugating my own desires to please others.
Which is okay, I guess – I like that I am a very nice person.
But this is a game. Do I really have to tweak my personality for a phone game?
I think I will continue to be a loser who has fun.
my losing design