Today I’m frustrated by the game of life. There are far too many limitations.
You pick a little car, decide if you’re going to wait out a turn at college, pull a career card from the deck, spin the wheel, pick up a little plastic kid or two and hope you choose the fork in the road that keeps everybody healthy, gets you a bonus, and leads to the safety of retirement the fastest.
That’s not life. That’s planning for death. That’s the shallow arc of a cannonball in flight. It rises with a flame only briefly before it gets sucked down to earth with a crushing impact. That’s not flying; that’s falling with style.
There’s no such thing as gravity. The earth sucks.
I keep looking for an opportunity to get off track, to make my own road to nowhere. It’s bumpy and precarious off the track, and the safety of the rules and insurance gets left behind, only to heckle you later when you realize you could have used a little help.
I want to push the boundaries of this board of life upon which my game has been defined. I want to get off the track and explore the road, or wilderness, less traveled. I want to cover every inch of the board, rather than build my little fortress of defense in the center, hoping the moat is big enough to keep the dragons away. I want to build and explore at the extreme edges of the territory that’s been made available.
It’s dangerous out on the fringe, though. Days like today, I spend a lot of time kicking myself in the teeth as penance for the deficiences in my life. I’ve spent too much money, wasted too much time, stretched myself too far, expected too much. I’ve committed to more than I can keep.
I want to retreat from all of it; get it back in control. I want to get my little plastic family back into our little plastic car, take inventory of our cards and cash, and spin the wheel with determination rather than flippancy. I want to pout.
Maybe I’ll take a month off from all my commitments except the bare-bottom basics. I’ll hide on the floor in the kids’ room and play Go-Fish, and chess and build Lego castles and watch Spiderman seventeen times, leaving popcorn kernels strewn about the room.
Maybe I’ll pay the bills and organize the book room. I’ll develop a budget and follow it. I’ll fix the towel rack and the garage door and replace that shower stall, and save for retirement. I’ll teach a kid to read, and another to borrow from the tens column when they need it for subtraction. For a few days, I’ll try to stay on track.
There will never be enough money, and I’m over my head in debt to time. I’ll do my best to live in the limits, I guess, but I’m not sure I can keep that promise.
The guy who made the game keeps shaking the board and getting everything out of whack. As I hang on to the edge by my fingertips and feel the weariness coming, I start second-guessing the wisdom of my wanderings to distant shores. I wish he would only intervene on my terms, when it’s convenient for me.