That’s Not Fair!
Life isn’t fair. That’s what my parents told me anyway. And, damnit, that whole unfair thing is just not fair.
I can tell you all agree. Because I can tell my “Ode to Mom” post last week (here) really hit a nerve — specifically, the part where I told about losing a 4-H cookie competition because, as the judges explained in their notes, I “didn’t use the preferred store-bought paper dessert plates to display peanut butter cookies, as directed in the 4-H handbook.”
Well, since that post, the emails have rolled in! Emails from readers who say they understand and have faced similar injustices in their lives. A sampling:
One time in college, a fancy restaurant refused to serve me because I had long hair and was wearing a Metallica shirt.
I guess I was covered in Silly String, too. Oh, that, and I had bile on my shoes.
You poor thing not winning that cookie competition. Dislike! Get this. Last week I went to Trader Joe’s and learned they no longer carry my favorite hummus-flavored soy puffs. Can you imagine?
I feel you, dog. In related news, last week my neighbor ordered me to pick up my dog’s business from her front lawn using my bare hands. Okay, I didn’t hate it.
P.S. It makes good compost.
Horrible, wretched stories that make my heart ache and my fists clench. Where is the justice?
This made me want to share with you a few more injustices from my childhood. When you read these, you will probably have to remind yourself that I live in America.
1.) Censorship. When I was in junior high, my small town’s radio stations only played country music and Steve Miller Band. To cope, I made mixed tapes by recording songs played on a hip, out-of-town radio station that only came in on rare occasions when an eastern wind blew just right and the moon was in the lunar phase.
I waited patiently for weeks to record Faith No More’s song Epic. It finally came in perfectly one evening and I was ready. But then, toward the end of the recording, during the closing piano solo, a radio deejay broke in and exclaimed Hey guys, this song is a mopey-dopey downer! And then he went into a loud, off-tune imitation of Sammy Hagar singing Don’t Worry, Be Happy that lasted until my song finally ended.
2.) Favoritism. My family once lived in Florida, mere miles away from Disney World. My brother was practically raised there. Donald was like an uncle to him. Since I was an infant at that time, my parents had to resort to picking up random strangers to accompany my brother on their many, many trips to the theme park. Some of those random kids didn’t even have two working arms (see left), as necessary to hug on large Disney mascots. Months after I was born and years before I reached the height requirements to go on the teacup ride, my family moved to Chicago.
3.) Deprived basic needs. My mom refused to ever buy me the breakfast cereal that was made up of miniature chocolate chip cookies.
4.) More censorship. In 1982, Square Pegs premiered on CBS — perhaps my favorite show of the entire decade. It was ground-breaking. Not only did it spark serious community conversations about the severe injustices of social cliques, it also included the most authentic Valley Girl accent ever depicted on national television. After just one season, Square Pegs left the airwaves.
Had the show carried on, had the actors got the acclaim they deserved, the world might be a different place now. And I wonder where that homely Sarah Jessica Parker girl would be today.
5.) Still more censorship. When I was in elementary school, I drew perhaps the best horse ever drawn by a first grader in the history of crayon sketches. My classmate Clint then yanked it out of my hands and altered it to make the horse appear to be defecating. To gain his acceptance, I then wrote up an essay for Clint using lined handwriting paper, which I stapled to the drawing.
My hoors poes on the grund.
He poes alot and alot.
Later I think he will ate it all up.
My beloved first grade teacher Mrs. Fagin spotted our work, pulled me into the hall and let me have it. I recall she said such devastating things like she was “disappointed” in me because I was “her brightest student” and I was better than this. And then she said she didn’t care a lick about what Clint did because he was a “no good loser anyway who would, at best, end up pumping gas and drawing poop on other people’s phenomenal drawings of barnyard animals for the rest of his loser pathetic life.”
Okay, I can’t remember exactly what she said about Clint so this is just my paraphrasing of what I think she probably said.
6.) Copyright infringement. When I was in second grade, some bratty kid plagiarized a story from Humpy Dumpty magazine and used it for our writing assignment. She ended up getting her story selected out of all of our stories, she won a student writing award, and she was sent to a prestigious writing workshop where she got to meet famous children’s book author Ivy Ruckman.
Oh, wait. Yes. That’s right. That was me.
So what? What are you going to do about it anyway? Call up Ivy Ruckman or something? Yeah, well you know what she’ll say? Life isn’t fair.