My name is Hariklica Bezhani. A lot of
people think of it as an unusual name!
It’s a Greek name; however, I came from an Albanian background. I was born in
Is it necessary to know how to “play the game” in order to succeed in life? What does “playing the game” really mean? Playing the game means pretending, lying, cheating, stealing or even “kissing butt.” It is also known as conning. Some people might think that it is the only way; therefore, they go along with it. Others go against that idea because they feel that conning is not a way to success, and others are even forced to go along with it.
People con one another every day for whatever reason. They cheat, scam, swindle, dupe, and deceive others. They have witnessed it and experienced it as well. I have witnessed it; I’ve done it; I’ve also been a victim of it. I remember back in first grade, the person who I thought was my best friend turned out to be the opposite. I thought we had so many things in common and that we were real friends because we used to spend a lot of time together and tell each other secrets. I trusted her; however, I was wrong. That was probably the biggest mistake because she used to talk to people behind my back. We used to talk about people that we couldn’t stand and others that we hated. She told all of them how I felt about them; therefore, they turned against me. She also put words in my mouth and turned everything I had said to something negative so others would hate me and become my enemies. I don’t know why she did what she did, but I sure didn’t like it. I’m not against conning; however, I’m not for it either. In some situations, for example “kissing butt” in classes in order to get a better grade, is often accepted. When a person is conned, the way my friend did to me, it is not acceptable because it truly hurts somebody’s feelings.
Right after she was announced as Miss
We are judged by the way we look. If we have good looks, people think of us in a positive way. However, if we are ugly, they often think of us in a negative way and make it impossible for us to fit into their group. Let’s face it, if a good looking woman auditions for an acting part and she doesn’t have as much talent for it, she might get the role. This would probably be just the opposite for an ugly, talented woman auditioning for the same part. “The looking glass self,” a theory of Charles Horton Cooley, helps to explain how we begin to get a feeling of self-origin through our interactions with others. This gives us a definite image of ourselves. “We imagine how we are judged by others,” according to Cooley, and “We experience a feeling or some type of reaction.” This means that if we don’t look a certain way that society expects us to look—sexy, showing cleavage, etc.—society’s expectations put pressure on us. That is often why many women suffer from eating disorders. This is also why people have plastic surgery, which costs thousands of dollars. When we look in the looking glass, we feel we need to see what others expect us to look like.
Television also influences us. All of the hot stars such as Britney Spears
have sexy, perfect bodies and good looks.
People try to look like her and other stars like her. We sometimes even act differently in order to
fit in, like a child seeking attention.
According to Cooley, “When we meet a new person, we want to make a
strong impression and awaken a desire to interest and please this person.” Michael Jackson, another example, was very
famous in a positive way. People loved
him. However he didn't think that he was
perfect enough; therefore, he started having many plastic surgeries and
destroyed himself and his image. Michael
Jackson and Miss
“Salvation,” a story by Langston Hughes, explains how people con each other. Langston was waiting to be saved by Jesus, see the light, and hear the voices, as he was told he would; however, he didn’t because “…he (Jesus) didn’t come” as he said. “I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened,” Langston stated, meaning that he wanted to be saved but Jesus wouldn’t come. He then lied about the fact that Jesus saved him, just so he wouldn’t have to keep the people waiting there in church. He, in other words, conned them. He did , however, regret the fact that he had to do it because of the fact that he cried in his bed that same night. He “played the game;” however, he regretted it.
The streets that we walk on,
The ones that cry out fear at night,
With the street lights watching our every move,
Shining their dim light upon us,
Revealing every little secret,
With the cars passing by like oars paddling in a river,
With the uncaring drivers pretending to see a picture full of roses,
Clouds follow us and drown us in the pouring rain,
Trees that scream don’t,
But far down in the horizon the rainbow
Makes us keep going because
- Hariklica Bezhani
My name is Sophornzana Sam. I was born in a small, Southeast Asian
I am taking a College Now course and have learned a lot from it, especially writing. I actually improved my writing skills. I learned how to write an enhanced college essay, which is very important because I will need to know how when I go to college. I want to be a successful businessman after graduating from college. I want to get a job which will earn me enough money to live well.
Why do people have to play games?
How do they deal with it? Most often, people play games to achieve a goal and get
what they want. They con other people when they lie,
cheat, pretend, steal, and even “kiss butt.” Some people have to lie to get out
of trouble. Thus, they have to play the game. Some don’t actually play it, but
they have to pretend that they are playing. In the interview, “Miss
Emma Knight was one of those who experienced what it was like to play the game and the one who actually opposed it in some ways. According to the interview, she was told that if she liked a man, she had to get interested in what he’s interested in, and let him win when playing cards. Someone told her, “Subvert your interests if you have a crush on a guy, get interested in what he’s interested in. If you play cards, be sure not to beat him.” This is one thing that she didn’t like to do. She wanted to do her best; she wanted to win no matter who her opponent was—either a guy or a girl. Even though she was asked to enter the beauty contest, she never believed that she could win. What she would say was, “No, uh-uh, never, never, never. I’ll lose, how humiliating.” When she had been accepted to the contest, she found out that her sponsor was a lumber company, which made her wear jeans, hiking boots, and even carry an axe. It was ridiculous that she had to wear that kind of costume for the beauty contest. During the evaluation process, she was assessed based on her astrological sign, personality, poise, and so on. More importantly, they only needed the “young, untouched, and unthinking human being.” They wanted a virginal, young woman—a woman who would keep quiet and never think and question them. They made it seem as if the person were an animal who couldn’t talk or a slave who wasn’t allowed to talk.
When Knight was to sign the Miss Illinois-Universe
contract, she was told not to read it—“Oh, you don’t have to read it.” Knight,
however, didn’t like the idea that she had to sign the contract without
actually reading it. She said, “I never sign anything I didn’t read.” She
wanted to do things she liked, things that contradicted what they wanted her to
do. When a newspaper man asked her if she was a “Miss” or “Ms,” she answered,
“It’s Ms.” “He wrote an article the next day saying something like it finally
happened: a beauty queen, a feminist.” However, Knight was a feminist before
she entered the contest, and she would still be a feminist, even if she won the
beauty contest. She didn’t care what they wanted her to say or what they wanted
her to be. She wanted to be what she wanted to be—an independent woman, who had
equal rights as men with no one telling her what to do. Finally, she won the
Miss U.S.A. pageant. She stated, “I started to laugh. They tell me I’m the only
beauty queen in history that didn’t cry when she won.” She didn’t follow what
they said. She just didn’t want to play this whole game. The press stated,
“There she is, Miss
As soon as she won the contest, she
felt that she became their property. She said, “The minute you’re crowned, you
become their property and subject to whatever they tell you.” She became a
slave to those people. She became their property and had to do whatever they
told her to do. “I got fifteen thousand dollars, which is all taxed in
After she was crowned for Miss
Knight might have made the right
choice by going against it (the game). She wasn’t treated fairly. First she was
judged based on what she liked, not what she was capable of doing. She was to
sign a contract, which she didn’t know anything about. Then they put her into
danger by sending her to
We usually think of ourselves as “ugly-looking” and we try to perform any changes to make our appearance look better so that we can fit in the society. According to “Looking Glass Self,” by Charles Horton Cooley, we imagine how we seem or appear to others. We see our own images through other people. We don’t look at ourselves and say, “I am satisfied with myself.” We actually listen to what other people think and feel about us. Such feeling happen to many young women. Many of them think that they are not cute or “sexy” enough compared to other women around them. They see famous movie stars and singers who look “perfect,” and they want to be just like those people. They have to play the game. They are not satisfied with what they have. They want to have what other people think they should have and to look like what people think they should look like.
To be successful, people need to be “perfect.” Britney Spears, for example, became successful in life. She gets everything she possibly wanted. But before she achieves her goal by becoming a famous singer and making a lot of money, she has to go through this whole idea of “playing the game.” She has to look “perfect” in order to appear on any TV shows or concerts. Being talented isn’t enough for her. What people think of her is more important than what she thinks of herself. If she looks hideous, her popularity will shrink and not too many people will be interested in her anymore. “Physical attractiveness” is the key to be successful, and it is not solely a female issue. Not many women, who are not attractive, get a good job in the entertainment field, especially, becoming movie stars and singers. They have to look pretty and “sexy.” This same stereotype also applies to boys and young men. Most young men look at other men and compare themselves to those men. One usually thinks the other man is better than him. He looks less attractive. Similar to female movie stars and singers, male movie stars and singers have to look “perfect.” If they fail to complete this requirement, they’ll lose the job. Therefore, they have to be just right and look like what other people think they should look like. They have to play the game.
Emma Knight, in some ways, was opposed to the game. On the other hand, Langston Hughes became the one who actually went along with it. As a boy, Langston was convinced to believe in God—in Jesus. He said, “I was saved from sin when I was thirteen.” He believed that God would help him and get him out of sin. This idea affected him mentally, and it got him to pretend to believe in Jesus. He started to go along with it. During the revival at the church, he was waiting for Jesus to come to him. He stated, “Still I kept waiting to see Jesus.” He had only one thing in his mind that Jesus would come to save him. He would be saved from sin. He “kept waiting serenely for Jesus—but he didn’t come. I wanted to see him, but nothing happened to me. Nothing! I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened.” Although, he began to realize that Jesus wasn’t going to show up, he couldn’t get out of it; he couldn’t get out of this game. Many people were expecting him to tell them that he had seen Jesus. So he “decided that maybe to save further trouble, I’d better lie, and say that Jesus had come, and get up and be saved.” Langston didn’t want any troubles. He had to lie to many people to save himself. He had to continue playing the rest of the game along with other people, who felt the same way as he did.
Many people around Langston might have believed in something that wasn’t true. They didn’t face the reality. They were in a denial. They just wanted to accomplish something that would satisfy them. They were playing games. They also pulled someone else to take part in their game and that was Langston. He was just a thirteen-year-old boy. He would possibly listen to what people told him. He had to believe in this untrue concept that God would come to him. And at the end, when he realized that it wasn’t factual, it was too late for him to turn back. He had gone too far. Langston lied because he had no other alternative. Consequently, he would have to play the game.
Knight fought the game in some ways. On the other hand, my aunt and uncle had to play the game as well as Langston. Their benevolence allowed them to be conned. Their relatives usually called them on the phone and asked them for money. They had so many reasons to say why they needed the money. Sometimes, they said they needed money because someone was sick and needed money for the treatment. Sometimes, they said they were broke, and sometimes they even told my uncle that they needed money to open a business. Eventually, my uncle and aunt realized that they were being cheated, and people were lying to them. It seemed like they never stopped asking them for money. They always came up with something to say—treatment, business, bankruptcy, etc. My aunt and uncle were upset and disappointed when they learned this. They couldn’t believe that people lied to them when they were being so good to them. However, my aunt and uncle had to pretend that they didn’t know what happened; they had to play the game. They didn’t want to break any relationships with them. Therefore, they had to continue helping them as much as they could. They still give them money.
Going along with the game might not be the best choice. That’s why people have to fight it. However, some people go along with it, either intentionally or unintentionally. People like Emma Knight and Langston Hughes and even my relatives had different perspectives about the game. Knight had to fight it because it was her way. She just didn’t want to do what she believed was wrong. Langston, however, had to play it because he didn’t want to get into any further trouble. My uncle went along, as well, but to keep a good relationship with his friends and relatives. People always have different reasons to either play or fight the game. They might actually face the later consequences, but that’s what they have to do to get what they need. Their need is so important that they have to con other people.
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