Toy Talk: Chutes & Ladders
For those unaware of the web logs of Toy Talk, it is a series I write taking children toys and comparing them to life, as I know or as I see it. All archive entries are located on my livejournal on their original dates and in their entirety as a group on myspace at the February 13 2007 mark.
Chutes & Ladders a game. The object of the game is to spin the dial and move forward the amount of spaces specified. No more than 6 moves per spin, no more than one spin per move. The board goes to 100. 100 little boxes and some have ladders in them and if you land on the box then you consequently get to climb the ladder to a higher space thus making you closer to box 100 and winning! However there are also chutes; slides that when landing on a box with a chute you have to slide down to a lower numbered box making box 100 that much more farther away. There are up to 4 players allowed on the board per game. There are 2 girls and 2 boys – at least that’s how it was when I grew up.
Spin to see who goes first, the person with the highest number goes first followed by the next highest number.
It should be as simple as one, two, three. It….should be. Life feeds us numbers all the time. At the DMV, at restaurants, our cel numbers, our bills, and hell some of us even “crunch” numbers at work. We get up, go to school or work or wherever we need to be and we do it because we have to move forward. There is an ultimate goal in all of us – somewhere. Depending on the numbers on the clock, on the paycheck and in the bank we move up the ladder. This is what we grow up to do. We spin the wheel and see where the arrow points and we move forward without really knowing if its gonna advance us or put us back a few steps. And further more we don’t know that after we climb that ladder and move up in our life if the next spin, or step, is going to send us plummeting down this path allowing us an un-cushioned landing on our backside. But regardless, we always get up and keep moving forward. At least that’s what we should do, that’s what the rules of the game are. Through wind, rain, sleet…through the blazing sun, through the trials and tribulations, through the tests….the marriages the funerals, the unemployment, the birth of unexpected kids, the winning of the lottery….through unpacking and repacking, through ruining dinner when you’ve never cooked to getting your college degree – we climb and climb and climb, and so many of us fall and fall fall….well – slide. The thing that keeps us moving after the valley’s is we know there will be peaks ahead. The thing that makes us get up and brush ourselves off, is that THAT is what we have always done. Its what our parents told us to do when we fell, what our friends helped us do when the bully pushed us down, its what the tutor helped us do when we didn’t get the subject and failing the tests, it’s what our aunts and uncles and grandparents all wanted for us, its what our coaches always told us to do….so we did. We get up, we brush ourselves off, we take another spin and move forward again. We keep reaching for the top, the end, that ultimate place of contentment because you finished! And while we spin only once and pass it on we learn patience, that’s it’s not always our turn to move forward or up, or even backwards or down. We learn that whatever we do is actually in OUR hands, not someone elses. Its not a team game this Chutes and Ladders, its every man for himself and we all want the same things but it may take some of us longer to get there because some of the ladders are shorter than others, some of the chutes are longer than others…but you’ll get there. What’s great is that in a game like this, everyone would stick around until the last person finished. The game wasn’t over until all 4 people made it to the top. Sure there will be first places and second places, there will be presidents of the companies and vice presidents of the companies, then the managers and assistants then service representatives….
which one are you? which one are you trying to be? Does it matter to you how quickly you finish or get to the top. Is it fair to assume that once you reach the top you’re going to see how the others make it? Because often in this world we just keep moving forward and once we get to the top we keep going. The game wants you to encourage others to keep reaching. It wants you to know that you may finish first in this game but there will be other games and wouldn’t you want support while you’re still trying to get up and move forward? Do you remember to take turns in your life? Once you reach any point of success do you pass on the torch so others may try to also reach success?
When you spin, or take that step forward, and you see that you are going up or going down how fast do you make your move? And my advice to you is always proceed with caution, and enjoy the ups as you can appreciate the downs because even in spinning then stepping, it’s all for a reason. There’s always an end in site, there will always be a next step after you believe its over. Its just how the game is played, you just have to decide your approach in how you play it. Not much strategy is involved, just spin….and move forward – but as always…watch your step.