Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crossing Our Fingers

Image of a horse from the Lascaux caves.

I'm guessing it all started with the Neanderthals. Some poor schmuck named Lug went out and slew a saber-toothed tiger to impress the girl in the cave next door. He was met at the entrance by her father who politely informed him that Slug had brought her a mammoth and the nuptials were a done deal. Heartbroken, Lug returned to his cave, picked up a piece of charcoal, and began to scrawl pictorial advice to the lovelorn on his wall. And so it continues to this day.

You don't believe me.

Okay, me neither, but the idea that we need help understanding the opposite (or same, as the case may be) sex had to start somewhere. It probably wasn't all that necessary in the days when people had limited resources. If there's only six in your graduating class, three girls and three boys, and the nearest town with any population at all is a ten-day ride away, it's not hard to figure how things are going to turn out at the altar.

But as things get more complex and the competition gets stiffer, we seem more like Olympic athletes, our performance separated by a mere thousandth of a second. So, we turn to consultants to tell us how to dress, advice columns to tell us what to say, practice creative visualization to build our confidence, and cross our fingers, hoping it all works.

I'm not opposed to any of these things, by the way. It's just that there comes a point where you start to wonder if anyone really knows the answers. Maybe that's not what it's all about anyhow -- maybe it's about learning as much as we can, applying it to the best of our abilities, realizing we're at our best when being ourselves, and um, then crossing our fingers.

(Image via Wikipedia)
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