Going for the Gold

March 2nd, 2010

The Olympics are over and we won,

Beating all the usual Winter favorites, hands on.

But why is it we obsess about being number 1?

Could that be part of why our society has come undone?

Like Ricky Bobby’s daddy told him, “If you’re not first, you’re last”

(Ricky was a winner, for a while, but his dad was a loser, by contrast).

The “loser” often becomes a political persona non grata in a Presidential election.

Strange, considering getting 56+ million votes is a far cry from rejection.

And when athletes “just” win second or third place

We view it as a national disgrace.

For the “loser” athlete, it’s hard, product to peddle

If you “just” have a silver or bronze medal.

In life we seem to often be dissatisfied

We when some of our wants are denied.

Does happiness perfection require?

Must we have everything we desire?

Maybe it’s our consumer society

And endless material variety

Of products advertised on TV

In ads we constantly see.

They tell us we can have it all, and we deserve it

(The cult of Mammon has returned, and many serve it).

They tell us that happiness is just a toll-free call away

(Get free shipping if you order today).

In fact, surveys have shown that happiness

Is often more prevalent in those who have less.

“Money doesn’t buy happiness,” the saying goes:

In fact, dissatisfaction with wealth often grows.

The best things in life are free

Is a saying that always seemed true to me

(Something the members of that band

Would later experience first hand).

I’m not knocking capitalism or the American Way of Life,

Or making light of our current economic strife.

But especially when times are tough,

Barely getting by IS good enough.


Here’s Stephen Colbert’s 2/11/10 “Defeat the World” Olympic launch.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
David Ross
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Here’s the Canadian perspective on winning.

Here’s your theme music for this today’s post. Check out the CD or the original MP3 in our Amazon store, or download it for free with the Real SuperPass free trial.

Here’s another great Beatles tune with a similar message (from the CD and movie A Hard Day’s Night).

Here’s the “If you’re not first, you’re last” race scene from Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby (a very funny movie)…

…and here’s young Ricky Bobby’s getting that advice from his dad.

Speaking of Olympic athletes, there was an interesting study in 1995 that arrived at the counter-intuitive conclusion that athletes winning bronze often feel happier than athletes that win silver. That is apparently because the silver medal winner tends to fixate on how close they came to winning gold if they’d just been a little bit faster or better, while the bronze medal winner is instead happy that they just squeaked by to get any medal. Interesting, eh? For more on the Olympics, check out The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics: 2010 Edition. For more on happiness in general, check out this book. For real Beatles fans, you can save money and get a bunch of extras by getting the Stereo Box Set (and the Rock Band game is fun too).

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5 Responses to “Going for the Gold”

  1. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Oh Happy Day Says:

    […] Going for the Gold […]

  2. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Happiness Says:

    […] But we’re often unhappy when our wants the former exceed. […]

  3. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Goooal Says:

    […] the “if you’re not first you’re last” […]

  4. Newsericks » Blog Archive » We Do Big Things (I Like That Better Than “Win the Future,” Don’t You?) Says:

    […] won’t remain “Number One” if we keep on […]

  5. Newsericks » Blog Archive » True American Hatriots Says:

    […] Americamust be number 1, in every way, […]

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