January 30, 2005

The Humility Bowl

We got in as a wild card so that makes us the favorites. Our quarterback never passes and never runs—he just eats the ball every play. This confounds the opposition and earns us lots of points.

The opposition quarterback prostrates himself on the turf in front of me. “Master!” he says.

“You win!” I cry. Which is so humble of me, I win.

Now the touchy question: Am I going to accept the trophy?

Of course not. I give it to my stalwart opponent. “I will add this to my shelf of Humility Bowl trophies,” he says. A bad move!

“My trophy shelf is bare,” I cleverly murmur.

“Then you must have this one,” he says, trying to recover gracefully. “I’ll polish it for you.”

“Thank you, but keep it, I don’t deserve it,” I say.

“Another unearned trophy for my shelf, generously bestowed by my betters. Looking at them reminds me of how far I still have to go. I am still so pitifully attached to these miserable tokens of gain.”

“To be humble enough to admit you want the trophy—surely this brings you the victory.”

“No,” he says, bowing his head. “Winning a mere game is nothing. You are the true winner here.”

My next little move puts him in checkmate: “I humbly accept your gracious concession.”

The trophy is mine!