Have you ever noticed that the games at the carnival are rigged? You play them anyway. There’s always the chance that you’ll beat the odds. You’ll be the one walking around with that giant panda bear and the crowds will part and marvel at your greatness. Yeah, that’s right, my dart throwing skills are legendary, you’ll think to yourself.
I took my kids to the carnival. Of course, they had to play the games. When did the games start costing $5 a pop? I guess I haven’t been to a carnival in a while.
Those carnies, man, what a fascinating crowd! What it must be like to be a carnie! What it must be like to have complete and utter control of the game. Don’t underestimate those people. All the odds are in their favor and you are the sucker. The kids played the games and they each won a little toy. The carnies always let the kids walk away with something. That’s really sweet. And brilliant. Because the kids start believing that they can win. No one really wins a rigged game. Unless it’s your rigged game and you’re a carnie.
Somehow medicine became a carnival. Somehow the insurance companies/hospitals/corporations became the carnies. Somehow I ended up a dumb kid throwing dull darts at half-filled balloons, hoping for the promise of the big giant panda, but walking away with a small stuffed poop emoji.
From a distance the carnival looks like the place to be, bright lights, loud music, crowds mulling about, the smell of sweet and savory carnival food in the air. I want to be there. I want to be where the action is. The energy. The vibe. Back in the day, I’d tease my hair out, wear my cut up jeans and Bon Jovi shirt, and strut around like I owned the place. I’d check out the guys with long hair, buy some new patches for my jean jacket, and dream of the same time next year when it all rolled back around again.
I wish I didn’t know any different. I wish I still believed I could win. Now that I know, if I keep playing the game, what will I become? I don’t want to play the game, I don’t want to be a carnie, I don’t want to run the carnival. I want to get off the ride because it’s making me sick. The rides always do. I think I’ll just take my stuffed poop emoji home now. I think I just might need to find a new game in town. Maybe stop playing games all together.