Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

December 4, 2013

ROOT: You did it, now deal with it

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Now is the time of year when the complaining starts and never seems to stop. “The holidays are too commercial” and all other such nonsense that people utter as they stampede over each other to get the latest Elmo toy that vibrates, or whatever Elmo does. Let’s put all of that to rest right now and, hopefully, alter some perceptions of the holidays.

The United States thrives on competition. We start wars because we feel bored and want to exert our dominance over countries that seem to get on our bad side. We have professional sports leagues that are based in the most violent physical contact that human beings can muster without actually killing one other. And now we have this desperate need to compete for things at Wal-Mart.

Retailers are not exploiting our desire to save money so much as they are exploiting our desire to win. The built-in American need to be No. 1 never goes away, even as we get older. It starts when we write our name with a little “#1” symbol next to it on our notebook in first grade, and it just grows from there.

The great thing with kids is that money is not even close to being a deciding factor in who really is No. 1. As a matter of fact, the kids who are considered rich never actually get to compete for the title. As we get older, the stakes get higher and the need to win becomes more intense.

Then again, is it the need to win or the fear of failure? I propose that it is some of both. If we fail, then we lose. Therefore, we fear losing and we fear failure. We are Americans. We have to win. You don’t see this Black Friday madness happening in Germany, do you?

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