Thursday, October 27, 2011


I came to know the game called "plinko" from watching The Price is Right as a kid. The plinko game board is flat with a regular pattern of pegs sticking out from its surface and bumpers along the side edges. A player stands at the top of the board and places a disk at the first row of pegs and lets it fall down under gravity. The disk then bounces and rebounds and careens off the pegs, moving willy-nilly, this way and that way, ever downward toward the bottom of the board. At that point the disk falls into one of a number of slots labeled with specific prizes.

The other day I heard someone use the term plinko and it gave me pause. I thought about the game and how that disk bounces around in a beguiling pattern. Just when you think you can make an accurate guess as to which slot it will end up in, it takes a couple of bounces in the opposite direction. I sometimes feel like my life is a game of plinko. It seems that so much of it is random and out of my control. If you are like me, someone who tries to stay in control of all their life variables as much as possible, then this erratic bouncing of life's prize disk is infuriating and gives rise to untold levels of anxiety and worry. Furthermore, even though my lifestyle is fairly lavish by any worldly definition, there are moments where I live on edge with the perilous, uneasy sense that I am just a couple of unexpectedly bad bounces away from my disk landing in the "busted" slot.