5AM Runner

The Rules of the Game


gameThese days I am definitely a runner.  Running completely and utterly alone, following the rules like a good boy.  We simply need to do something to get our minds further away from the overwhelming reality.  There are too many questions that our inner reason cannot process, but also can’t dismiss.  And so, we are restless and we choose to run in our own unique ways. 

After two decades of being “socially connected” and getting immersed in the “social networking” of various kinds, everyone suddenly had to adjust to the “social distancing.”  Life became a game with rules being written and re-written on a daily basis.  If you have friends – stay away from them; if you don’t have friends – don’t make any.  Don’t leave the house, but if you have to, then go ahead.  Stores are closed, except for the ones that are open.  Don’t cut hair, no need to put on makeup or dress up, and if you go outside – you’re a criminal, since you obviously don’t care about anyone and simply want to infect as many people as possible.  Now, when you get hungry and visit a grocery store, all the new rules are no longer in effect!  Inside the store, you’re not an all-infecting criminal, you are allowed to smile and talk, and if you meet a friend from the old life, you’re allowed to say hello and exchange words.  As soon as you step out of the safety of the store, however, you’re back in action and have to run for cover.

The strange thing about this game: it has to end at some point, but no one knows how or when!  And therein lies the paradox.  If everyone, or at least a good 90% of the people, had actually followed the rules of this new social game, we all would have reached the finish line and called the game ‘over’ by now.  But we can’t, because not everyone is playing!  Just like Jumanji, where the game could not end unless everyone played and finished, our game is taking way longer than what we have bargained for.

No matter how many rules you follow, one day you’ll go back out there and you’ll walk into a Starbucks and order a fresh latte.  Then bam! – someone who refused to play “the game” will turn and sneeze on you.  And that’s it, you are done, finished, back in the solitary confinement for another month and so are all the other poor schmucks that were standing next to you!  

Look, it’s all fun and games, but life will always find a way.  We need to put the old folks and children in safe places and get back out there and live.  There is a fine line between being scared and being careful.  And so, instead of waiting in the shadows, we have to carefully move our pieces toward the finish line and then, and only then, we will finally yell out in a single voice ‘Jumanji!!’