19: The Games We Play #LifeWideLearning16

Secrets are weird.

They come from this space of your childhood where you thought that there were huge troves of information that were being kept from you by everyone. Your friends, your playground enemies, and even your parents knew more about the world than you did and you were determined to get that information from them, no matter what. You wanted not only to know their secrets, but also to have secrets of your own. You wanted to keep an inner circle of people who you could tell the most intimate details of your incredibly boring life that no one else would know.

But, any time you had something you thought was juicy, something that was an actual piece of news. Like the time Joe liked the taste of salt more than sugar in the tastebud science experiment or the time that Justin was taken out of the advanced math class because he didn’t do his homework. These were your secrets, and you held them in for a while 2 minutes while you were trying to figure out who to tell to score you the most points in a strange game of poker where all of the chips just keep getting passed around the table and no one ever wins.

In the end, no secret was a secret for very long. And all of those things that you thought your parents were hiding turned out to be just as boring as your secrets. Their lives really weren’t that interesting either.

And now that you are the adult, you are still trying to make believe that your secrets are important. You are trying to make believe that the world will fundamentally change if you let them out. So you make up new games and the secrets become like a perverse form of mousetrap or a marble labyrinth, where sharing a single secret sets off a chain reaction or drops you into some deep abyss that you can never get past.

These games are silly. They don’t make us better people or make our bonds stronger. Yet, we pretend they do. We pretend because the alternative is to be utterly transparent and to share all of ourselves with others. And we could never do that because it would make the games into farce and would change the rules for how we could interact. No longer would we have to tiptoe around certain subjects. No longer would we have power over one another because we knew what the other didn’t.

If we eliminated secrets, you wouldn’t be able to gossip anymore. And what kind of world would that be?

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