Monday, October 15, 2012
The Game of Life
When I play a game of FreeCell, the first thing I do is make all the easy moves. Red nine? Black ten? There's a move. Red King? Black queen? There's another.
To be honest, this is not an approach that works well.
Most of the time, once I've made all the easy moves, my next steps become more and more restricted. I load up the holding spaces in the top row and have less and less room to maneuver until eventually my only option is to return all the cards to their starting positions and try again.
Old Dog, on the other hand, starts by making a careful survey of the cards once they're dealt. He figures out the possible ramifications of each move and each move after that and each move after that. He only relocates a card to the top row if he can foresee the opportunity to bring it back to the stacks. He figures everything out. Then, and only then, he moves his first card.
FreeCell is a pretty good metaphor for how we approach life. I'm impulsive, spending most my energy to clean up the messes I make of things by not considering outcomes more carefully. He's cautious, spending most of his energy avoiding making mistakes in the first place.
It's a good, if sometimes hard-to-align, combination. I push us forward, he keeps us from making too many errors.
It will comes as no surprise to you that he wins FreeCell a lot more often than I do. But, about 5% of the time, I win really fast, flying effortlessly through the game, the cards almost magically arranging themselves.
And, for me, the rush of that makes the other 95% worthwhile.