I have been thinking about powerful words that begin with the letter C, including chocolate of course. They provide an interesting insight into life.
Take comparison, for example. From the time we are born, the process of measuring ourselves against others begins. In fact, mere minutes after a baby enters the world, it is assigned an Apgar score, a determiner of how ready he or she is to meet the world. As kids, we compare our abilities against those of our buddies on the playgrounds and later, in the sports arenas, giving props, respect and admiration to those with superior athletic prowess. We compare test papers, report cards, SAT scores in school, hoping that we measure up. We look to musical or artistic talent as a way to distinguish ourselves, all the while worrying if we are good, better or best. As we grow into adulthood, we compare everything from the neighborhood in which we live, car that we drive and suitability of the mate we have chosen. Employment status and annual income become barometers for success. And then, there is the undeniable hope that our own children will do well, demonstrate exceptionality, make us proud. I could go on here, recounting lively conversations between women in public bathrooms, as they compare clothing, hairdos and bodies, but I think you get the point. I am sure that anthropologists will assert that there is some deep biological motivation at work here. Perhaps survival of the species is dependent upon comparison as we size each other up, looking for the strongest, brightest and best with whom to mate. Perhaps those whom we add to our pack somehow ensure our safety and contentment. Comparison helps us to choose wisely.
As a writer on the verge of releasing a book, I think about comparison. I have been careful to choose a subject matter that is unique, a story line that is not a copycat, characters who are compelling. But even as I prepare to list it for sale on Amazon, I am aware of the need for numbers, reviews, stars, all of which are used for comparison to achieve a ranking that will hopefully result in a readership. Like that newborn, who is given a survival score, I hope that my baby will measure up and thrive.