Accomplishments, Negotiations and Dominoes

I am sitting in this room and I can’t help but think, “Oh crap, what did I get myself into.”  We all had been asked to introduce one other selected individual.  The lists of accomplishments and accolades accrued by the other Telluride scholars sat over their heads like 5 foot top hats.  In contrast, as a very green MS2, my head looked pretty bald, maybe covered by a flat cap.  Traditionally I would just shut up and try to steal the wisps of wisdom that they utter.  Upon conversing with these illustrious men and women however, I was struck by their humility.  These people were really listening to what I have to say, as if we were on even playing fields!  Truly a testament to the unassuming, non-judgemental nature which is Telluride.

“I cannot believe you played an X!”  The objective: Win as much as you can.  The rules: each player (4 total) can play an X or a Y, every combination of X and Y will result in Y losing points except when everyone plays Y (everyone wins) or when everyone plays X (everyone loses).  With the ability to negotiate prior to playing our hand we thought we agreed upon all playing Y’s.  We trusted that no one would stray.  But when someone did, the trust was destroyed.  There was no more cooperation and discussion.  From then on, invariably, we all played X’s, and as a result, we all lost.  Distrust casts a deep shadow.  One bad apple ruins the bunch.

It has all the makings of a good family game night activity: build a configuration of dominoes in under five minutes with only verbal instructions to guide you.  To say it crassly, we all kind of sucked at it.  Rarely did a group manage to achieve a perfect configuration.  Most were happy with 75-80% accuracy.  This would be haha funny except when you remember that similar if not more complicated verbal instructions are being tossed around hospitals all the time.  That statistic does not pass the mother test.  I would not trust 75% communication if my mom’s life was on the line.