Saturday, March 14, 2009

Musical Chairs ~

Imagine 14 grown men playing musical chairs... walking slowly around in a circle, tiptoeing from one chair to the next and hesitating before moving on. Their ages range anywhere from the 20s up through the 50s. The seriousness on their faces tells us how much they want to win this game. The prize is $1.50 (enough for a bus pass) and an extra evening snack. When the music stops they all scramble to get a chair, pushing and shoving and accidentally ending up sitting in each other's laps. The whole group, including me, breaks out in laughter, rolling around in our chairs, pointing at each other and harassing the one who lost his chair. Everyone seems to forget the hardships and doldrums they've experienced that day, at least for a little while.
When they walked into the room and saw the chairs set up to play a kid game there was a collective groan among the group. They all seemed to think they were too tough or too grown up to enjoy it and it was a waste of their time. The objective for them when the game started was to get it over with ~ as quickly as possible. However, when one person would be left standing, they wanted to get back in the circle and try again! Truly this was a phenomenon I had not expected and had not seen up until now. We had to run and get our supervisor so she could witness the whole thing ~ the intensity with which they played, the encouragement for each other when one got put out ("that was a good try, good job!") , and, best of all, the laughter. At the end they admitted they thought it was going to be stupid but really enjoyed it.
So next time you (or I) feel low, just think of these 14 men, most of whom have lost everything, walking slowly in a circle, laughing and competing for $1.50 and an extra snack.

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