Saturday, March 19, 2005


To play Pinball is to experience one of the most acute feelings of powerlessness one can feel. I've been playing over much for the past two weeks, and I've actually gotten a couple crazy good scores. But even those few moents of triumph seem enough to remind me that all the work and 'skill' I put into getting them really meant nothing, for it seems all the more that I am simply at the mercy of the game. There is a large space where the ball can be flung around in all directions, with a great store of gizmos and do-hickeys all combining to decide my fate, while I sit with two little flippers, hoping beyod hope that if the ball happenst to come into their reach, I'll be able to put them into flight once again and send them once again far beyond my control. How many times has the ball been sent cruising right through the middle of my two flippers, almost as if it were trying to escape? How many times has it been sent down the side, been shot back up again, only to be sent down the side again to its death, without my ever having a hand in it? How many games have been started and lost with only one little flick of my little flipper to decide the whole thing for me. If you want to feel like you are an ant attempting to shove the whole world out of its orbit, play pinball. If you want to feel like all your efforts are futile and nothing you do, though you get a little better at what little it is you actually do, will ever change anything in the long run, then play Pinball.

Seriously, though, I fear that sometimes I feel the same way in life. A myriad of circumstances happen to me, and even my nature is limited so that my responses to those circumstances allow me but few choices. I tried playing the game as if I were trying my darndest to defeat fate or to last against circumstances, and I played the game as if resigned to my fate and whatever happened would happen. Either way, it didn't make much difference. Things still just happened to me. Sometimes I feel like that is how life is. If I face it with tenacity and fire or if I face it in resignation or acceptance, it still just happens. I don't knw, but It's put me in a foul mood for the last few days.

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