Month: August 2013

  • Matching

    Since I’m too cheap to buy a real cable package, I’ve been watching a lot of old TV game shows on the YouTubes. Mostly, it’s been episodes of the old Match Game and some Password. Apart from the abundant appearance of Betty White, the critical elements of both games is celebrities and trying to get other people to guess what’s been said. Making the match is the key to winning big.


    And when there is a match, it’s usually met with applause and fanfare. It’s a grand occasion. But, then there are times when a contestant gives a really crummy answer–an answer that is either too obscure or just not a lot a logical fit with the question. When that happens, sometimes the audience boos. Sometimes the host makes fun. In short, failing to make a match is to be avoided.

    Why is it that we like our “matches” so much? And, I should clarify, “match” is a broad concept–it’s not just about two, identical things as is required by those stickler judges in “Match Game.” It’s about two or more things going well together or fitting well together. For some reason, finding a match elicits a positive, aesthetic reaction. Whatever reasoning underlies the human psyche, things are just better when they’re not alone.

    As much as I love “Match Game,” and all the witty banter, the pervasive notion of matching doesn’t sit right with me. It may be because I resist any form of relationship in my life….mostly because I’m confident I could not endure the effort that a relation-ship requires. (Heck, I don’t think I could handle a realtion-canoe. Do they make realtion-water-wingies?).

    At the same time, though, I get it. I like having everything organized. And, the first rule of organization is: “like with like.” You put all of the things that are the most similar in function, color, or appearance together–you have to match them so that you can make sense of what’s all in the space. You need to make divisions so you have a better sense of the whole.

    And maybe that’s where matching’s allure lies: it puts things together in a way that sheds a light on what else is out there. When I have all my socks together I know that they’re not the same as my t-shirts or underwear even though these are all things that I wear. By putting my reference books together, I know where I can find how to make a proper citation without having to look through all (and there are a lot of them) the law school books I have.

    But, I think there’s a distinction to draw: what works for things might not work for people. Even if it’s generally good for things to be matched and organized, it might be equally good that people are not. So, while I can sit down and enjoy an episode of Match Game, cheer at the matches and boo and hiss at the rotten answers, I might also appreciate that not everything has to match.

    What about you? Do you like things to be “matched”? Do you think people need to be matched too?