Friday, November 21, 2008

Primordial Bingo

Sometimes I wonder if there’s a little distribution center right before we get born. And there’s this bingo-like lottery where we get these various coupons. Like a cross between a horoscope and the Chance cards you pick up on a Monopoly board and an old-fashioned role-playing game – or for those of you who might remember, the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

These coupons on one hand involve a certain complicated kind of luck, like, “You’re gonna end up – or rather, start off – in a poor African country where you’ll have a tough time getting an education. On the other hand here, you’ll have a starting advantage in physical strength, somewhat less problems in ever getting fat, and 25 points you can claim at Counter 2.”

And then you go, hmm and proceed to the next stop and here you get a little choice about how you’d spend your points. Spend it all on Endurance/Stamina might be the way to go, and bingo, next thing you know you’re the next marathon king of Ethiopia. Cash it in Dexterity and Coordination might have been smarter if you were in a place where you could end up playing table tennis, but still if you have some points left for Entrepreneurial Spirit, you might make it starting up a custom-made furniture store.

Some people seem to get more points than others though, so there has to be a logic to that too. Like “Bingo! You start off with Shelf 1 DNA – tall, dark, and handsome. With cash to boot. You’ll find things and people tend to come your way but you might find they don’t always seem to be the ones which provide true constancy. Choose between an additional 10 points in Focus which you can pick up at Counter 2, Humility at Counter 3, or decide instead to bank on your strengths and head for the Dumb Jocks Corner on the lower basement level.”

I’m pretty sure that there ought to be a Rare Gifts Shoppe, which you get to visit if you get the pre-life equivilent of one of Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets. Most of our gifts just seem almost magical to those who don’t have them – it’s different somehow watching Sarah Chang and knowing in a ballpark approximation what she does to get the sound she gets, than being a music-loving say, accountant. Sometimes the magic is good to have, which is all the motivation not to know everything, in a sense. It’d be even more interesting to have a particularly rare gift, like photographic memory, or really knowing when it’s going to rain, or having a particular dexterity with your left big toe. With some of them, it would be harder to build a life around such a gift, but it would be interesting to have.

I know our decisions decide where we head in this life. But I wonder if we made decisions before this life, somehow. The question, I guess, is whether it’s like octagenarians’ rounds of bingo… or a rather more lively primordial casino. Round and round me goes, whether it be luck, chance or karma bestows.

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