My curated life, and yours, too

Louis Pasteur (yes, the milk guy) observed that “chance favors the prepared mind.” Americans prefer to focus on luck as in “you make your own luck.” Chance? Not so much. We fancy ourselves as a nation of entrepreneurs, but, when it comes down to it, we really don’t like taking chances ... on anything. 

From the folksy staff picks at a bookstore to the commercial surveillance of Amazon, increasingly, we want everything curated. The day is long gone when curators were confined to museums. 

A playlist of songs that we (or someone) has compiled precludes any possibility of a B-side dud or discovery. Super foods, best restaurants, food stands, pop-up shops, an evening of music, even a mini bodega at the new ACE Hotel in NYC.... all curated ... nothing’s left to chance. 

Going to college? The obligatory questionnaire selects the curated roommate and is more likely to pair you with someone you’re comfortable with . . . someone just like you. No surprises, no more roommates from hell. Although I must admit that my college experience of living with a guy who insisted on blasting “Layla” over and over every Tuesday at 2 a.m. was probably not the best example of the benefits of living outside your comfort zone.

Nevertheless, we have now “progressed” from living in physical gated communities to living in virtual gated communities ... of the mind. And this proverbial bubble extends far beyond our social views or political beliefs with no chance (there’s that word again) of stumbling into the unknown or unfamiliar.

With one exception: We’re very willing to take a chance on chance itself. Americans spend more than $70 billion a year playing the lottery. Now, there’s something that will never be curated.

“Hey, pick me a winner!”

Not a chance.


M. A. Duca is a resident of Twin Lakes, Conn., narrowly focused on everyday life.