Life Is Fair

I remember as a kid my niece scooped more ice cream than I had and I told my brother, "That's not fair."

"Who said life is fair?" he retorted.

I always hated that question. Who said life is fair? Well who the fuck said life is unfair?

Dude. A lot of people.

I just came out of a writing group that is surprisingly going well, and one of the critiquers said my main character has faced a lot of opposition and is going through a lot of opposition. In a way life has been unfair to him. Obviously, I've set up this character and his life in this manner to make him a more compelling and interesting read.

But when we look at real life from the perspective of labels, situations and material wealth life can be unfair. There will be people that are richer than you. There will be others that are poorer. Certain people will have talents that you will not have. And you will have talents they won't even want. A coworker may get promoted faster than you. Some people work hard and withstand stupid people (retail workers) for little money. And hard work doesn't guarantee success.

So, yes, from the perspective of the have and have-nots life is unfair.

Going back to my main character, he is now at the top of world. He's married to a beautiful woman who was highly sought after in her day. His two adult children are well adjusted. He's the general of the most powerful military force in the seven provinces. He's also the most talented and best swordsman this world has seen. Yet, he's unhappy.

Jimmy, this is crap. No one on Earth, the real world, who is this successful can be unhappy. Not true.

Now, I'm not saying that if you're rich, you're unhappy. But people who do not consider themselves rich may think that having more will increase their happiness. And we can see that's not true. And I don't need to provide proof that unhappiness exists in people that are considered poor.

And this is where life is fair. Happiness can be had by all. Because for anyone to say they are unhappy, they at some point in their lives were happy.

The question becomes how can people herd more happiness into their lives?

For my main character, one of the things he can do is let go. As one of my critiquers have said, he's faced a lot of opposition in his life. One is portrayed here. Enduring this kind of tragedy obviously takes a mourning period. But the mourning period can extend as long as he holds onto this memory. I'm not saying he'll forget it. What I'm saying is how often does he remind himself of this tragic event can extend the mourning period.

I think losing a child is too extreme of an example. So let's take my friend Mr. Vagina. Well, don't actually take him.

My friend had fallen for a girl, hard. And he's had the damnedest time trying to heal from it. And that's the crux of his problem. He's trying to heal. You get a cut on your hand. Your body naturally begins the healing process. You don't need to pray, talk to someone, pay anyone money, or look in the mirror deep into your soul every morning and night and affirm that your body will heal itself. It'll fuckin' heal itself.

Mr. Vagina's mind is the same. It will naturally heal and move on from his perceived emotional torment. But every time we've met up for dinner, he would sink into his victim hood.

World’s smallest violin

World’s smallest violin

He would give me a history lesson of how all this pain started, how he's a good guy, how she's at fault, and then asks me for confirmation of all those things. I don't give it to him, but that's not the point here. He's taking the cut on his hand and slicing it again and again everyday. He's the proverbial self-cutter. Not only that but he either refuses or is unable to see that this is all self-inflicting, despite me showing him. He's been unhappy for a very long time because he's a true master at holding on to grudges.

Once he lets go, happiness, like a healthy body, will naturally show itself.

For my main character, losing a child is a very deep cut. And with that, it may naturally take more time to heal. And like some severe injuries, the human body has limits. Does the mind?

You Can Buy Happiness

I had gone camping a couple months ago with my girl's friends in Santa Cruz. The guy who had reserved the campsite had chosen well because it had an amazing view of the mountains. There was a good mix of men and women, and we delved into conversation about dating and relationships. So of course they brought up one of the guys my girl had been set up with. I smiled because I wasn't sure where this was going and was curious to see why they hadn't connected.

The guy my lady had been set up with had been in the country for fifteen years and began as a shoe salesman and was still a shoe salesman (the travesty!). My rebel mind leaped up, and I blurted out the question, "What's wrong with that?"

Everyone turned toward me, wondering why I would ask such a question. Keep in mind that spending the night in the wilderness with people that I'd just met, my girlfriend's long time friends, had added a bit of pressure because these people weigh toward the conservative side. And I'm pretty light when it comes to that. Not that I like to run through the streets naked, unless there's money involved.

"The guy has been in the same position for fifteen years!" one of the guys on mary jane exclaimed.

"What if his passion is selling shoes?" I asked.

They pummeled me with statements such as 'What's good about being a shoe salesman?' or 'He's a man, he should be more ambitious.' or 'Can he support a family with that?'

None of the women came to my rescue. Nor did I expect that. But I hadn't expected them to agree with those statements. They did. I should have asked if it was OK being a shoe salesmen and earning a good six-digit income, or being a CEO of your own company that makes little money. Because it seemed like they were linking having a respectable title with earning a high income, which isn't always the case.

I guess I felt a little insecure because I've had my day job for over ten years, don't have any ambition to move up beyond where my current title is because it's just a day job. It funds my passion and pays for my bills. Well, I pay the bills, my day job doesn't really do anything except deposits my paychecks into my back account.

But so many of us are obsessed with showing people that we are doing well. Check out my German automobile. Check out my new iPhone. Check out my spiffy shoes. Check out my new job. Check out my hot girlfriend.

Not my actual girlfriend

Not my actual girlfriend

I had a friend who posted his offer letter from Apple on FaceBook. He didn't even redact his salary. And people were congratulating him, feeding his ego. I wanted to post, "How small is your dick?" But I didn't. It would have been a waste of my ten seconds.

I've had another friend who posted pics of his new car, awards that he's earned, and shopping with his wife at Jimmy Choo. How small is his dick? He's Asian so...

And would it have mattered if that shoe salesman worked at Jimmy Choo?

And why do women love his shoes? The one complaint I've consistently heard is that his shoes are ungodly uncomfortable. I don't know, I don't wear high heels...when people are looking. So why covet Jimmy Choos?

I think part of the reason is that we need people's acceptance, that we think happiness comes from what others think of us. What we really covet deep inside is their approval.

Yesterday, I took my girl to the Renaissance Faire for her first time. I've gone almost every single year since being dragged to it my first time twenty years ago. And there are three things that I must do: eat a dish called Sausage, Bread and Cheese, which has sausage, bread and cheese, watch Stuart Abelman's glass blowing demonstration, a man of true passion, and attend Broon's show.

We went to his last show of the day, and Broon ended it with this (paraphrasing): Look at all of us. There's white people. Black people. Christians. Muslims. Catholics. Republicans. Democarats. For a small moment, we all forgot about all of that and laughed and had fun. It's been my pleasure to have been a part of that because happiness and joy is a natural part of our being.