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The gong show

June 25th, 2009 at 06:19 am

Anybody ever been to a Mongolian grill? They usually have a gong you can ring if want to.

I rang the gong once. Let me repeat this again so everybody is clear on this for later: I rang the gong once. I only did it because I've never rang it before.

Truth to tell, it wasn't all that exciting for me. No balloons or party favors. No flashy models coming out with large, glossy printout of a check for obscene sums that I can squander in conspicuous consumption. No magical revelations on a higher sense of purpose or finding inner peace. It was good for a cheap laugh, and that was it.

Fast forward to the last time I was at the Mongolian grill, and while waiting for my food to cook, a guy standing next to me asked, "You going to ring the gong?"

"No", I replied.

"Why not?", he inquired.

"Why not?", I repeated in cock-eyed bewilderment, wondering why he feels the need to ask why, "Because I don't want to?"

"Why don't you want to? You can ring it for any reason."

Now I'm wide-eyed flabbergasted.

"Uh look. I just don't want to, ok? I don't see the big deal."

"I'm going to ring it.", he retorted, "You gotta live a little you know? It may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes... it's like what these signs they've hung up say. You've got to go out and ring that gong in life."

Ok, now I'm irritated. Maybe he's drunk or just trying to have a friendly banter. Maybe I'm taking it too personally. I don't know, but by this point I was most definitely NOT going to ring the gong, just because I think he implied that I am a less of a man because I refused to go out and grab life by the mallet or something.

I turned around and silently waited for my food to finish cooking. His finished before mine, and he rang the gong before he left. He rang it, all the while intently staring at me, as if to say, "See? You are going to live a sad little gongless life, but I am a big, virile man who is going to live a life full of purpose, and gongs, and prosperity, and women, and gongs. Because I rang the gong and you didn't."

Now, I can't say that he doesn't have a point. Sometimes, you do have to get out there and experience life so to speak. But that's not what bugs me about all this. What bugs me is that:

1. He assumed I never rang the gong.
2. He assumed that ringing the gong is inherently better than not ringing the gong.
3. I think he assumed that my refusal to ring the gong is an outer confirmation of my refusal or perhaps even inability to go out and experience life to the fullest.

Again, here is why I didn't ring the gong:

1. He irritated me.
2. I've rang the gong before. It's over-rated.
3. The gong itself is not a life lesson. Sometimes? It's just a gong. Or, maybe it is. Maybe it illustrates the fallacy of reading too much into a percussion instrument. Maybe it illustrates the fallacy of passing judgment. Maybe it even illustrates the fallacy of a superiority complex.

Life isn't just about what you say and do, but it's also about what you don't say and don't do as well. There is wisdom in saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done, but there is also wisdom in not saying what should not be said, and not doing what should not be done. There is also wisdom in knowing which is which.

Frugality is actually a perfect example of this. We don't go out and spend our time, energy, and money doing everything. But that's because we are selective about what matters to us. We go without on so many things that ultimately doesn't matter to us so that we can focus on the things that do. To me, that's the true essence of a gongful er meaningful life.

Hmm what? No, I do not have little gong syndrome thankyouverymuch. Big Grin

15 Responses to “The gong show”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    LOL BA, you crack me up. I think it shows secureness that you didn't ring the gong; no gong envy for you. Smile

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    Thanks ceejay. I am secure in my gonghood!

  3. merch Says:

    Aw BA with his little girlie arms can't lift the heavy mallet? Afriad your's was going to be a ding well your friends was a DDDDDDOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGG?

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    I'm not listening, merch! My gongs are as big as anyone's! It's true. I measured it once. It's just within the national gong average.

  5. six Says:

    "Life isn't just about what you say and do, but it's also about what you don't say and don't do as well." Nicely said! I have never thought about it that way before. But from now on I think it's going to be one of my mottos in life.
    That was me ^ there before. For some reason the quote didn't show

  6. Phenomenal Woman Says:

    haha! I can't stop laughing!

  7. Broken Arrow Says:

    I'm glad you like it six. I can't take the credit though. It's an eastern concept that's as old as time. The duality of action and inaction. Ying and Yang.

    Also, please remember that there is a difference between meaningful and decisive inaction, and inaction due to indecision. One is out of wisdom and the other is out of ignorance. One is decisive, the other is muddled. To the uninitiated though, they both look the same on the surface (like to my gong buddy here).

    I'm sorry if I seem like I am boasting or something, but it's just that people in real life often times have that confused about me. Just because I don't say something, it doesn't mean I don't know or didn't notice. Just because I don't do something, it doesn't mean that I don't care or don't know what to do.

    But it's hard to explain that in real life sometimes, you know?

    Also, because your first comment was a duplicate, I went ahead and pruned it. Hope you don't mind.

  8. six Says:

    BA, no worries. I was hoping you would delete the 1st comment. I understand what you mean about "meaningful and decisive inaction, and inaction due to indecision". Meaningful and decisive inaction is something I would like to practice. Smile I am beginning to realize that not every action deserves a reaction, and that quote resonated with me. So thanks for sharing!

  9. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Funny, but...yeah. There have been times when someone just was not ready for or receptive to what I might have to say and who I am, because they were busy falsely judging me. But sometimes I have felt myself to be in a position of strength because of their false notion. It is not necessarily strength that I used in any way, but I might have if needed. I'll admit that can make me judge the other person to be a fool and thus make me feel smug...so maybe the obstacles are in both people's minds.

  10. Broken Arrow Says:

    That's a very good point Joan. Yes, I am probably passing judgment as well. But, and I hope I don't seem like I am rationalizing my wrongfulness in this, but I am only defending myself from what I believe is a false accusation about me.

    As I have mentioned in an earlier comment, this is also why it's difficult for me to say these things in real life because, even if I disagree and believe in something else, it's not always right for me to tell the other person why my belief is somehow better than their belief. Right or wrong, then I would indeed be passing judgment, and worse, become a hypocrite.

    In retrospect, perhaps there is a more tactful way of handling such matters, but given the relative irrelevance, I usually just let it go. But then, it also makes for good blog fodder. Big Grin

  11. monkeymama Says:


    It is a great analogy.

  12. princessperky Says:

    what a maroon! It is just a gong, fellow was idiotic

    Your post response on the other hand was interesting and thoughtful. (and funny..have all guys measured?)

  13. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Really I think what you did and did not do sounds like it was just fine. And really, my first thought about the stranger acting like that is, "What a weirdo!";.

  14. Broken Arrow Says:

    PP, um I don't if ALL guys measure their... gong. Probably though. I'd bet on it. I know I have. Big Grin No point being shy about it now, eh? It's... within national average. But as they say, it's not the size of the gong that matters, but how you swing your mallet....

    And that's what I'm sticking with!

  15. merch Says:

    no comment

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