Column: Are you stairs or an escalator?

Column: Are you stairs or an escalator?

By Ross Beroff, Editorial Columnist

It’s in our nature as humans to classify things and other people and put them into groups. We love to do it, and not much can be done about that. However, there are groups of people that are very against putting anyone into any sort of group and I have determined a group that these people fall into as well. While taking a shower, after first considering the oft overlooked beauty of the colors on the back of pigeon necks, I had an epiphany. I came to the realization that life is like a tall building without elevators. Instead, it just has two ways of getting to the top, to the bottom or to any level in between – escalators and stairs. In real life, everyone can fit into one of those two ways of traveling in the building, everyone is either an escalator or a set of stairs.

At first, this new philosophy on life didn’t make sense to even me, and I am the one who thought of it. After further exploration it all became clear – so clear in fact that I was amazed that no one else had developed a similar theory.

Escalators have a clear direction – a clear path that they take. Escalators either go up or go down. People using the escalator may try and walk down an up escalator or up a down escalator, but usually that is a recipe for chaos and pain. No matter how others might try and use an escalator, the escalator continues in its own direction, refusing to allow others to define its trajectory.

There is no such thing as “downstairs” or “upstairs.” Instead, they are just stairs. They can go up or they can go down, with no clear direction. It is the individual who is using the stairs that determines which way the stairs go. Stairs let others define their life path and let others define who they are.

I know there are flaws that many who read my new philosophy may try to point out. Yet, it was while playing my own devil’s advocate that I found the solution to the potential flaws and realized even more how accurate this theory is.

The first flaw is that escalators do not just choose up or down on their own. That is true; however, once they are given their direction, given that spark of electricity or inspiration to go and keep going, then they continue in their determined direction, the way others walk on them does not affect how they are defined. The second possible flaw in my theory is that sometimes escalators break. They stop going. That is true, but that doesn’t make escalators worthless; it just temporarily turns them into stairs. But they should not be without hope, for all broken escalators can be fixed, and sometimes stairs are not a bad thing – they just give you a little extra exercise.

Escalators define themselves. They don’t let others have an impact on which direction they move. Stairs are nothing without other people. They only have a purpose when they let people use them and can only find their way with other people.

So, are you stairs or are you an escalator? More importantly, are you going up or are you going down, and whichever way you are going, is that the direction you want?

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