Kings and Queens and Common Folks

Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

I ran across an old Italian proverb the other day that tickled me. "Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box." Think about that one for a minute.

We humans like to pretend we're better than others of our species. We think we're better because we make more money or wear more fashionable clothes, or have a better education. Maybe, we think we are better because we shop at Nordstrom's instead of Target. (Target shoppers think themselves superior to the Dollar Store patrons.)

Working people look down on welfare folks. The guy who pays cash for his groceries figures that he is better than the person who has to use food stamps.

Teetotalers think they are better than drinkers; social drinkers lord it over alcoholics; the wine connoisseur, sipping his chardonnay, feels several cuts above the beer drinker down at Marty's.

Japanese look down their noses at Koreans; the Brits are uppity with the Irish; Danes feel superior to Swedes; Episcopalians think themselves more enlightened than Baptists.

Young people are prone to think themselves smarter than old folks; slim people look down at fatsos; non smokers like to think they're better than smokers; supervisors have no doubt that they are a cut above the folks they supervise.

On and on it goes. We say that "all men and women are created equal" but, in practice, we keep treating one another as unequal. We separate ourselves into rich and poor, educated or not, "normal" or "abnormal." In a thousand different ways, we insist on denying our equality as human beings.

From time to time, we need to remind ourselves that we all have to put on our pants one leg at a time and that "Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box."