Unearned winning (was Re: Merlin (with spoilers) Grundo, Coercion)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri May 30 15:14:36 EDT 2003

Robyn wrote:

>There is a great bit in one of Bujold's Miles books (A Civil Campaign) when
>Miles has to consider his behaviour. His mother reminds him of how he felt
>when he found out someone let him win a physical game as a child - he was
>absolutely devastated.

See also Robert A. Heinlein in *Starship Trooper*

        "You!  I've just awarded you the prize for the hundred-meter dash.
Does it make you happy?"
        "Uh, I suppose it would."
        "No dodging, please.  You have the prize -- here, I'll write it
out: 'Grand prize for the championship, one hundred meter sprint.'" He had
actually come back to my desk and pinned it on my chest.  "There!  Are you
happy?  You value it -- or don't you?"
        I was sore. {...] now this farce.  I ripped it off and chucked it
at him.
        Mr Dubois had looked surprised.  "It doesn't make you happy?"
        "You know darned well I placed fourth!"
        "Exactly!  The prize for first place is worthless to you ...
because you haven't earned it.  But you enjoy a modest satisfaction in
placing fourth; you earned it...."

Sometimes old RAH does get it right, or at least I think he did that time.


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