Last week, I watched and re-watched a music video by the Lumineers titled “Sleep On the Floor”. The song is powerful in itself, and the video makes the message infallible.
It depicts a young woman at a funeral catching eyes with a young man across the room. He approaches her and whispers in her ear “to leave town with him”. He turns to leave, and the scene cuts to where she runs and catches up to him before he enters the cab. They both hop in and the music begins. The entire performance depicts her life that could have been if it actually happened. It ends with her waking up back on the floor at the funeral to the reality of what could have been was not.
Throughout our lives we look back and wish we zigged instead of zagged. As years go by our heart demands of us to hark to this creed; especially when things do not turn out the way we envisioned.
The clip validates the belief “what could have been should have been”. Does it not seem logical? If the present zag is not what we hoped it would be, then the zig must be everything we did wish for.
A Zig Zag begins and ends with the ‘undeniable truth” that opposite action results in opposite outcome. This premise is not only lodged in our individual psyche; it also echoes within our cultural norms. Zig Zag is glorified across all forms of entertainment. How many times do we watch a movie or listen to a song and think “if only I zigged instead of zagged…”.
Political analyses have upped the ante, as pundits predict with self-proclaimed authority the outcome of a policy. Regardless of what actually happens, many pundits double down on their positions by jacking up the zag or the zig depending on the situation.
Social media has fully stripped the individual and societal Zig Zag bare, by subjecting it to a ruthless onslaught of public opinion.
If the zig must always be right, then how come everyone question’s their zag? Aren’t some people happy with their zag?
To me “what could have been should have been” is fallacious at its core. Much like a fantasy, this paradoxical creed is genuine surrealism. The truth is very few people are ever happy with their zags no matter how well it looks on the outside. Even if we could go back in time and zig, the results of the zig wouldn’t make us happy either. Yearning to go back and zig only feels like the “undeniable truth” because it is steeped in unrealism.
Stuck in “what if” instead of “what is” not only influences the individual but highlights our social identity. Imagine a world where the entertainment industry did not robustly impress our youth the message; the key to happiness lies in the credo “if only..”.
Political process only functions correctly when there is open dialogue and public stance. Does it not incumber our political process when our positions become so dogmatic to brashly foretell the aftermath of the zag? When the results do align itself to these verdicts, pundits boast about their ingenuity. When the results malign themselves, they adamantly perpetuate the flaws of the zag insisting the zig would have yielded the desired effect.
When did it become accepted that every thought, word, and decision be subjected to trial by peers? What gives anyone the authority to decide the zag was right or wrong, and even go so far and insist you should have zigged?
We all have the power to change the world, but very few do. I believe these people are very retrospective of their past, but only use it to enhance the present. Their happy with their zags whether it meets expectations or not. History has shown how influential these men and women were to the social order.
The zigzag hitch dominantly persuades the ethos of man, and certainly influences the undertakings of our culture. A smart man acknowledges it, a great man does something about it.
Editor of BJR
Open Dialogue does not seek to be right, rather to understand. There is never a right or wrong answer. Please feel free to leave comments & share your opinions and views.
The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not represent the views of the Buffalo Jewish Review.