12/03/2010

When I am King: DesigNation

When I am King...

We will all have designated victims for the activities of our lives.

I was at a dinner recently with a group of friends, none of whom drink. The waitress set the bottle of wine down on the far end of the table, where it sat lonely and untouched until I got up and fetched it.

It turns out that I was the designated drinker for the evening. There were 6 people, out for a raucous night on the town, but they needed was someone to do the partying vicariously for them. I was happy to oblige.

In the olden days (a phrase which means a time before I can remember which, for me, means more than three weeks ago), princes of the realm would have their own whipping boy. When the prince was naughty, the punishment would fall on the whipping boy instead of the prince himself. Pretty sweet deal, at least for the prince.

Then there's the designated driver concept, where a group of friends want to be irresponsibly drunk without actually dying, so they choose a lesser friend to be the chauffeur for the evening. Note that this approach to partying is not quite as successful as my designated drinker strategy because the drink must be shared amongst the whole group.

When I am King, we will embrace and extend these means of delegation. For example, why reserve the whipping boy concept for princes (or Kings)? We should allow everyone to designate scapegoats for their failures.

We could use a similar approach for the information overload that we all experience. Think how wonderful it would be if we could designate others to receive our mail, read our email, pay our bills, and have meaningful dialogs with our partners about communication in our relationship. Meanwhile, we could be doing our part toward this effort, playing someone's designated drinker, or at least practicing for the role.
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