At least for now. Tomorrow – or later today maybe – I’ll probably take up my whacker and let somebody have it.
Then, I will take consolation in knowing I am not alone in this game in which moles are forced back into their holes by hitting them directly on the head with the mallet. Whac-A-Mole is, after all, “both primal and universal,” observed Ron Lieber in this past July 1 edition of the New York Times.
‘Eighty-countries’ universal in fact, say manufacturers of the game.
In the carnival version (as opposed to the single-player game which can be installed in your own home – perhaps your therapist has one in his office) multi-player Whac-A-Moles are linked in large banks together with the goal to be the first player to hit the most moles in the least amount of time for which you win a stuffed animal – perhaps a mole – which can be traded up, should you win again, for a larger stuffed animal, maybe the coveted King Mole, which can then be carried about the fair declaring yourself one not to be messed with.
For non-winners – those whose reaction time is inversely proportional to the ever-increasing speed the moles randomly appear with each mole spending less time above the hole and with more moles outside of their holes at the same time – there is the aforementioned therapist, on-site even.
And, fortunately, for the Whac-A-Mole game host, as well as the other players, each mallet is “attached to the game by a rope in order to prevent patrons from walking away with it” – which is the official explanation for the rope – and/or exacting revenge being the other.
In either case – winners or losers – both having contributed significantly to the $100 million (you read that right) that manufactures estimate is spent annually to club these critters, I can now at least help you avoid the cost of a therapist since here’s how it in all likelihood would be played out:
Therapist: ‘Would you describe your efforts to manage your personal affairs much like you did in the Whac-A-Mole game, flailing away at life?’
Nods, too exhausted to say anything after too many games and too much money to win the King Mole.
‘Do you feel mocked, confused, and frustrated, not fast enough or strong enough to wallop the moles much less recognize financial or other opportunities until too late?’
‘Yes, yes, that’s me! Just a failure. The moles came faster and faster until I missed too many and time expired.’
‘You’re an adult who challenged the mole, and the mole eluded you time-after-time. You had no control where the mole popped up and there was no pattern. The mole won didn’t it?’
‘Winning at whacking requires hair-trigger decision making and even if you react at twitch speed, most split-second decisions made in life will quite often lead to regret. Whacking at this and whacking at that is most often destined for failure. Ever pursuing a fleeting target, more frequently just missing it than not, is not unlike a ship without a rudder: hopelessly adrift, subject to every shift of wind and tide.’
Blows nose in the tissue the therapist handed him while nods in understanding.
‘Borrowing the title from Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Slow Down, You Move Too Fast,’ you need to, well, slow down, you move too fast. As the Psalmist puts it, paraphrased, ‘make like a tree. Stay put. Sink your roots deep by the stream.’
‘Thank you,’ you say. ‘I’ll take a whack at it.’