Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

The Rise And Fall Of Plan A

by Anne Fox

When the hither-thitherness of life sets me to sputtering, I pin on a modest button that asserts, "We spend most of our lives in PLAN B."

Years ago, blissful in my ignorance, I believed that Plan A, considered the best course of action, could predict the outcome of events-—how a relationship would develop; how nations would manage their affairs; how a Master Chef's pâté ŕ choux recipe would turn out. Plan A was logical, reliability itself. I could see the future, even control some of it. If Plan A didn't work, the fault was mine.

But with time came the oh-oh's of life rather than the ah-ha's. Relationships failed; affairs of nations faltered; and the pâté ŕ choux went fou.

So why does anybody depend on Plan A? What theory supports the trust of Plan A'ers that the path to their goal will have no snares, no potholes, no quicksand?

Tornadoes and flash floods make a mockery of Plan A, though they do teach us to prepare for Plan B. Didn't Murphy's Law emerge from the unreliability of Plan A-—"anything that can go wrong will go wrong"? And while enjoying the charms of girls and Scotch whiskey, young Robert Burns penned the simple wisdom, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley."

Clearly, Plan B readies a person for life, itself woven of the expected and the unexpected, more random than planned. Today's "fuzzy logic" confronts the reality of uncertainty. Plan A can't do that. It will break before it bends.

Little of life is of Plan A quality—-logical, rational, or orderly. Even before the advent of my lapel button, experience taught me that Plan B gave the lie to the alleged authority of Plan A. Plan A, the poseur, betrays us in a finger snap.

Such knowledge leads to my inescapable conclusion: Whereas Plan A will never merit even a lapel button to honor it, Plan B deserves a medal.

Anne Fox's writing includes nonfiction and fiction. As a copyeditor, she's involved with newsletters and individual writers of fiction and nonfiction.

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