Saturday, September 20, 2008


An old man was on his last day of life. He called to see his remaining friends and family. He had been very close, yet very competitive with the first brother born after himself. He beckons him close. He speaks very softly in a hush, “You’re it ”, taps him on the chest, and falls back to visit the next world.

It is a strange concept. He has ordained the surviving brother, ‘it’, for the remainder of his days. He, himself, can not be tagged in response, a sort of checkmate.

We, as children are introduced to games. Who can know baseball a priori? The rules and the object of the game has to be learned. Some games are very simple. A race sees who can cover a particular distance in the shortest time. Some games tally points. American and canadian football award different values to different sorts of achievement, and the value of those quantities have changed over time; while real football records each tally as one.

Now, to designate some one as ‘it’, is practically metaphysical. First a child has to wonder what ‘it’ is. His first understanding suggests that ‘it’ is not good, for why do others run away to avoid being ‘it’. Once becoming ‘it’, the immediate goal is to transfer this quality to someone else, so that one can be free of the onus. And who has given ‘that person’ the authority to name someone, in this way, in the first place? He is not Adam.

There is something psychologically disordered in this activity. Not as physically sadistic as dodgeball can be, but mean, none-the-less. It is a game of alienation and ostracism.

So what is ‘it’? Well, it is used a certain way: as a substitute [not the real thing], as something indefinite [lacking form or substance], neuter [lacks gender]. It is inferior. No wonder, some children diligently avoid being ‘it’. ‘It’ is a third person, singular pronoun of neuter gender. It is a neutered ‘he’.

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