We cannot miss school on the day when we are to be line leader, the person assuming the important role of guiding a procession of fellow students from the classroom to the next activity. While some might imagine the position to be largely ceremonial, the savvy elementary pupil will argue it to be filled with responsibility and rife with potential for disaster. What if a wrong turn is made? What if an untied shoelace leads to an embarrassing trip?
Why is it worth the risk? Isn’t getting a break from the toils of the day – a moment to talk to friends, enjoy some tater tots, or run on the playground – enough? Would we care if our day were overshot, and we were sentenced to be perpetually the fourth person in line? Others would be behind, at times, but always someone would be ahead. As we mature into adulthood, this echo from our collective childhood hangs with us. While we enjoy travel, sailing on the open water, eating great food and watching the home team, many of us remain aware not of the destination of the line and how lucky we are to be in it but of our specific position within its ranks.
We may board the plane first because of the credit card we’ve chosen but there is always someone before us. We may love our watercraft until we see the one sail by sleeker and more spacious. We may enjoy our delicious meal but remain longing that a reservation had denied us finding an establishment with a slightly higher rating. And we enjoy our sport tickets but wish ourselves to be a few rows closer. Why is it so frustrating for so many of us to be the worst of the best, the last to board first class?