Why do we waste our lives repeating the same mistakes?

The beam of incandescent light whizzed around the circular track of the arcade machine at dizzying speeds. As it systematically lit up each glass light bulb along its path, a wide array of single digit numbers was also illuminated each and every step of the way. If the light were to stop abruptly on any of these spaces, any child will be thrilled to win a small handful of tickets.

But there was one particular boy who was transfixed on a single spot that lay elusively in front of his glowing red “stop” button. His heart skipped a beat as he read the big bold letters that spelled the word “Jackpot!”.

“Come on!” pleaded the little boy as his blood-shot eyes anxiously tracked the ball of light as it zipped around the machine at breakneck speeds. But just before the light reached the jackpot, the boy’s fist slammed down prematurely. He missed. Out of the machine, spat a measly 3 tickets.

The boy violently slapped the arcade game with fury and rage. When he finally calmed himself down, he swiped his card. He was once again immersed in the relentless pursuit of the elusive jackpot.

Over and over again, this boy played this same exact game but never won the jackpot of 1 million tickets. After 30 years had passed by, the owner of the arcade finally took pity on him and decided it was time to give him the prize.

As the manager blew the dust off the top of the large box that was labelled “1 million tickets”, he pulled out a small rubber duck that was haphazardly spray-painted gold.

As the middle-aged man clutched his childhood prize, the feeling of dread and agony ambushed him. For he finally realized that he had wasted his life chasing after something that was completely worthless. After hurling the pathetic duck into the abyss of the arcade, he was finally free to move on with the rest of his life.

Many of us are like this man who is helplessly stuck playing the same “games” in life to chase after the elusive goals or aspirations we weren’t able to attain in our childhood. But the only way we can be freed from chasing after these delusions is when we finally realize these prizes may not be as valuable as we once glamorize them to be.



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Samuel Hong

Samuel Hong

I believe writing is a form of art. It shouldn’t just enrich the mind, but it should also touch the heart and your soul as well. #mentalhealth #relationships