Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How Trump Won

Let's all agree: Life is not fair. The expectation that it will be begins, wrongly, in childhood. Parents "ooh" and "aah" over their offspring no matter what. Ugly babies are not called out as such, not that they should be, you understand, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder (ha!), but still, it's crazy to set up expectations that will never be met anywhere outside the nursery. Or the nursery school.

I've told this story before but it sticks in my mind even though it happened a quarter of a century ago, and I believe it bears repeating. My son was four, and of course extremely beautiful, the most beautiful in all the land according to my husband and me. He was one of 24 toddlers in a co-op nursery school in an adorable town full of adorable children. I helped out one day a week, as did all the other parents.

One sunny day we were all outside, the kids playing in the yard, when Cindy, the teacher, blew her whistle to signal that it was time for Sally, a darling angel, to get off the tricycle after her allotted five minutes so that Blake, an obnoxious biter everyone disliked, could have his turn. Blake was mean and stubborn and naturally outraged, pitching a fit that Sally was still riding around the yard "on his time." Sally, oblivious to any trouble brewing that involved her, was enjoying the sunshine with a big smile on her face and exercising her little legs.

I suggested that Blake do something else for awhile, like climb the monkey bars or play in the sandbox or continue kicking Nathan in the stomach. Horrified at this blasphemous thought, Cindy insisted that each child get exactly five minutes on the school's one and only trike. "Otherwise it wouldn't be fair," she explained. "We don't want to show any favoritism." Well guess what: Nothing is fair and favoritism is the name of the game. (This, by the way, is how Trump won, in case you wondered.)

My point is, I have a disease called labile hypertension. My blood pressure goes way up and then it goes way down. Yesterday I fainted in the supermarket. Some mornings I won't leave the house for fear of having a stroke. It sucks. I hate it. Why me? But then I hear about a friend who is much sicker than I am, or another who is in perfec thealth and has everything, and I realize that it's all a crap shoot. I'm not really the most wonderful, most beautiful, smartest, cleverest girl in the world like my mother always said. (I'm also not the worst, like my ex-husband still believes.)

I was kicked off that tricycle years ago and scrounged around for something else to do. I found it. Lately it involves being on hold with my doctor's office for long stretches of time, causing me to still wonder, "Why me?" It's just not fair.

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