If you've read any of my articles before, you probably would have picked up on the fact that I have a lot of pet hates. The incorrect use of your and you're. People who attempt to open the toilet door when the little sign clearly says engaged. When I receive emails or letters addressed to "Mr Casey Murray". (These do not get replies, you have been warned.)
My current pet hate du jour is a competition that is running on a local radio station. There are two competitors and a certain amount of money up for grabs. Both competitors have two options—to split the money, or to steal all of it. They make their choice in secret and if both competitors choose to split, they each get half of the money. If one steals and the other splits, the stealer gets all of the money. But if both choose to steal, they both go home empty-handed.
I know I shouldn't take it seriously, but I get strangely emotional about the outcome of this game. What is meant to be a light-hearted radio segment has become for me an infuriating story of justice, betrayal and revenge. Sometimes it works out for everyone and I can get out of the car and go to work feeling like everything is right with the world. But when one person steals I want to crawl into the radio and be broadcasted into their living room so that I can slap them in the face.
They are very clever these radio people, so before the game starts both contestants say have to say why they want/need the money. They drag you in with some real heart-wrenchers. Dying pets, sick relatives, marriage counselling, holes in the bathroom floor, the list goes on.
But for reasons unknown it seems that the more genuine the need for the money, the more likely the other person is to steal it to throw a party, buy a phone they don't need, or pay off the credit card after a $400 drunken taxi ride to buy cheese. I rage at the injustice of it all.
I find myself shocked that people are so willing to ignore what others are going through, that they can so easily cast aside the needs of others. It baffles me when people lie and say they are going to split the money, but when it comes to the crunch all they care about is themselves.
Maybe I'm making too much of a simple game, maybe I'm being a little harsh. At the end of the day it's not really my place to decide which is a more worthy cause, it's not my place to judge someone on their game strategy. But I think I would find it so much easier to deal with if I didn't see the same selfishness all around me. Maybe it wouldn't strike such a nerve if I didn't see the same selfishness in myself.
While most people steal purely to get the money, there are some who steal as a defensive strike. They are worried the other person is going to choose to steal, so rather than let them walk away with the cash they steal to make sure they end up with nothing. How's that for strategy.
The thing that bugs me is that if the other person steals, there is nothing you can do to get the money. Whether you split or steal, you aren't getting any money. Once you hang up the phone that 'I showed them' feeling dissolves and you are still left with nothing.
That's the thing about revenge, it doesn't actually change your situation. That thing that made you angry, that hurt you're feeling, that disappointment—it doesn't magically disappear or fix itself. When the revenge-high subsides, you're left with the same crap you started with plus the knowledge that now you're just as bad.
OK, rant over. At the end of the day, I do realise it's just a game. But it has got me thinking about where I'm stealing in my own life. I know I'm more selfish than I want to be, I know there are things that I should be splitting but instead choose to keep for myself. I know I could be better.
First published September 29, 2014
Casey Murray works in marketing for a beauty company, where she plays with pretty things and eats too much chocolate. She writes to try and make sense of the chaos, and in the hope that she isn't the only one.
Casey Murray's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/casey-murray.html