Babies are neither born innocent creatures nor sinful ones, but both, or perhaps neither. Any honest parent will agree upon observing their child go from hugging and kissing a sibling to slapping them unprovoked in seconds. Certainly by the age of two children are both sweet little angels and skillful manipulators, hence the “terrible twos.” It’s surprising to me that such romantic notions still exist about children’s innocence since this view can be so easily removed by babysitting a couple toddlers for a few hours.
Kids’ board games often emphasize the enjoyment found in other people’s misery. Take the game Sorry! in which one pretends to be sorry when landing on an opponent’s piece, thus sending it back to the start and gaining a competitive advantage. Sorry! encapsulates a universal human experience—delight in causing another misery coupled with pretending to not feel such delight. This experience is so common that the apology in the game of Sorry! is obvious in its insincerity to the point of sarcasm. It’s a “sorry! (ha ha)” that recognizes one’s gain at another’s loss. (more…)