Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Door number 1 or door number 2?

Did anyone else out there read the Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid (aka CYOA for the truly devoted)? I don't recall reading many of them but what I remember most was my typical approach to how I chose my adventure. I read a couple chapters, made my choice when prompted, turned a few pages into the book and read my next stage, made another choice, turned about 15 more pages, read my next stage and then I swear mine always ended with something really lame. Boo! So what is the only thing to be done?!? Start over again and pick a different sequence of choices to get a cooler adventure. Am I right? Is there any other way to read a CYOA book??

What if we could live life like one big CYOA? Or rather the CYOA where you cheat like I did. On one hand, it could be pretty rad. I could get to the conclusion after my series of page turning and if it wasn't what I wanted it to be, go back and pick option B instead of option A and have a whole different set of adventures. Would you take more risks knowing that no matter how it turned out you could always go back and change things or would you play it extra safe? It was quite disappointing to feel like you were on a roll with the adventure only to have it abruptly halted by the page with the big stop sign at the bottom of the last paragraph. It'd be nice to have the option of turning back from the big ugly stop sign and starting back at the beginning. Man, I sure do hate that big stop sign.

On the other hand, part of what makes an adventure an adventure is the risk. The unknown holds a certain thrill that makes life interesting. I have tried to live my life with no regrets. That doesn't mean I haven't done some pretty ridiculous stuff. It just means that I recognize that life is too short to regret the "adventures". I don't have the luxury of turning back the pages and picking a different route so why waste time pretending like I can. Our choices in life are the source of much of our life lessons. Good or bad, they contribute to that wonderful gem called opposition. We can't appreciate the sweet without the bitter, joy without the sorrow.

I have a few of these cutesy conversation books with hundreds of questions for the game of life. One of the questions asks something like, "if you could find out everything that was going to happen in your life in the next five years, would you want to know?" This question gets more interesting the more you think about it. So go ahead, think about it. I have my answer...


  1. That last question about finding out what's going to happen, I look at it like I look at a much anticipated book... some people are perfectly happy reading spoilers so that when they get the book they already know most of what will happen, then there's the people that will get the book and read the last few pages first, and then there's those of us who try sooo hard to remain spoiler free and struggle through reading the book beginning to end without skimming through...
    So, I think I'd rather not know because life is all the more interesting without knowing what's going to happen before it does. I think it would take away all the magic and make your life ever so boring if you already knew everything that would happen, even if you could choose the other option.

  2. I LOVED those books. I think I read every CYOA and Encyclopedia Brown book the library had. In college, two friends and I created a CYOA Date. We were prepared for all sorts of options. We wrote a story and at the end of the chapter we would ask a question. Depending on what our dates answered, that's where we: went to eat, how we got to the activity, and the activity. One of my all time favorite dates. Wouldn't you know that everyone that was on that date - everyone except me - is married now.


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