Friday, May 5, 2006

Paper, Scissors, Rock

Posted in Generalities, Travels at 6:07 pm by graceandpoise

I got into a conversation today that led to the conclusion that people everywhere make decisions through the "paper, scissors, rock" game. It's one of the few things I've found so far that Bulgaria, western Europe, the U.S., Turkey, Korea and Japan have in common. Hmm, maybe it's the only thing. The order of the items in the name of the game tend to change, but the idea and the method of play are consistent. Anyway, I realize that there are a few continents left out of that equation, so, knowing quite a few of you are more well-traveled than I am, I thought I would put the new theory out there and see if anyone disagrees with it. The theory is this: in a world where anything beyond a smile and a frown is culturally relative, "paper, scissors, rock" may be part of this ultra-selective pantheon of universally understood things. Admittedly, this whole effort is highly unscientific, but I am kind of hoping someone does disagree with the theory, because if it is true, well, it's kind of daunting to think about. Out of all the things in this world to be universal, why "paper, scissors, rock?"


  1. When you get to Korea, it will be “Gawee, Bawee, Bo!” It’s a great method of dispute resolution for anyone under 15 years old. Don’t know how it would apply to consular work, but there you go.

  2. Catherine said,

    I know I’m behind on the times, but I was looking through your blog to read about FSI training and saw your post about rock paper scissors and it reminded me of this wikipedia article I read (I have no idea what led me to it in the first place). It’s really interesting and may prove your theory 🙂

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