Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

May 2013

There are some things that deserve to be called “game changers” but I think it’s important to keep a top five list to avoid trivializing the term.

Some will argue, no doubt, that the list should be 10 — top 10. David Letterman does top 10 lists, Snooky Lanson and Dorothy Collins did seven to 15 songs on Your Hit Parade, and J. Edgar Hoover invented the 10 Most Wanted list.

Copy editors, and this publication has one of the best — Jane Milizia — will perhaps change ten to 10 because you’re supposed to spell single-digit numbers and use Arabic numerals for double digits and above. Roman numerals are Roman numerals, of course, so 1,000 can be written M (seemingly a space and ink saver until you figure out that 2013 is MMXIII).

I prefer five in my lists. Remember one of the main characters in the novel Watership Down — Fiver? Fiver was the last of a large litter of rabbits and was named Fiver because rabbits considered any number greater than five to be infinite, therefore, the last of a long sequence was reasonably called Fiver. Something like that — it’s been years since I read that book but I am going to give it fifth place on my game-changer list.

Although George Orwell wrote Animal Farm before Watership Down, and other novels written from the viewpoint of dogs, wolves, lions, et al, came later, the rabbit book was not an allegory: It was about rabbits. That, folks, was a game changer.

You hear a lot about game changers these days. Google it and you’ll find a credit card, a baseball statistical “app,” and a chance to buy or download a movie of the same name. In the recent NCAA championship, when a sixth man started sinking three-point shots, it was described as a game changer until the sixth man on the other team also started potting three-pointers, also called a game changer.

So, there you have it. My extra point is that game changers happen or are reported to happen too often to be considered in my longer view of game changers. Most current references are fine for those keeping top 10 lists. Those folks will be very busy sorting through all the changing game changers.

Running out of space, I’m going directly to my number one pick: M&Ms. Melt in your mouth, not in your hand! That, my friends, was a game changer.