About a million-to-some-three-thousand years ago, life was hard. Life was brutal. Life was boring. After a tough day hunting and killing a mastodon Joe Caveman naturally craved intellectual recreation. So he and his friends, those who survived the hunt, got together for a game of “rock, rock, rock.” But everyone played “rock” and the game ended in one tie after another. This so discouraged prehistory’s brainiacs that even the most cursory of intellectual pursuits, such as telemarketing and mime shows, were put on the back burner for millennia.
Then happy day, papyrus and soon afterward paper were invented. In one literary salon after another in ancient Egypt and Greece the forward thinkers flocked to hearty games of “Rock, Paper.” Life was worth living. Thinking was worthwhile. The Egyptians erected magnificent pyramids in their great joy. The Greeks, the Parthenon. The Chinese, the Colosseum.
Unfortunately, in 989 a lowly, but brilliant rag picker named Arlin reasoned thusly. If I pick rock and my opponent picks rock as well, I tie. If, however, he picks scissors, I lose. So, I either lose or tie with rock. If I pick paper and my opponent also picks paper, I tie. But if he picks rock, I win. So, I either tie or win with paper. Ergo, I should always pick paper. Within a scant fifty years, everyone picked paper and the games degenerated into ties, just as in the days of the caveman.
Joyless people stopped thinking again. The whole world plunged into the Dark Ages.
Then not so long ago, a Italian man with a bad haircut invented scissors. The game became Rock, Paper, Scissors. There was no same, optimal strategy. People could win and lose again. Thinking became worthwhile. The clouds parted. The bluebirds sang. They’ve sung ever since.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.