Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Just Lucky

It amazes me how people equate luck with worthiness, morals, or skill.

There are a whole lot of beautiful people and a whole lot of "born rich" people. And a whole lot of people kissing their asses -- and not just to get laid or get some money. No, it's as if people think they're really better.

The same thing goes for youth. Hey, I'm all for looking at a nice-looking -- but legal aged OF COURSE -- youngun,' but being young doesn't take skill or talent. All you have to do is pass through the birth canal. (Except in the case of a C section.) Hey, at least if you've been to the Panama Canal, you have a few stories to tell.

Just about every week we see some celebrity being pulled over for drunk driving. I'm not completely without sympathy, but it's only luck that kept them from killing someone. When you get down to it they're not better than some Otis that plowed down some school kid... just luckier. Yet time after time we forgive the drunken celeb -- who can afford cabs, limos, whatever -- while making the person who killed someone a villain. Oh, sure, the person who killed someone should be punished, but let's not fool ourselves that they did anything dramatically different from the barfly who only killed himself, or the woman coming home from the club, who makes it home safely with No Memory of actually getting home.

Much of our tolerance of those that make it home safely is due to the fact that many of us are on their "team"; at some point a large pertentage of us got behind the wheel of a car, and had no business doing so. We might have had that supposed magical cup of coffee, or only took side street, or whatever... but we drove while we should not have, and we hoped to not see a cop car in the rearview mirror. And we'd like to think we were somehow different from the guy who killed some innocent people. We would like to think that.

Several months ago an 11-year-old got molested in a Target. As I recall, she'd asked her mother if she could go look at magazines. And some creep took her over to the lawn department and had a good old time. And there were a lot of people condemning the mother as if she'd sent a toddler into traffic -- blindfolded. For what? For not knowing a public store was not a safe place for an older child? For not knowing the security cameras were not actually being monitored? For having really crappy luck?

But all these parents came forward to say mom should have been watching. Why? Because nobody wants to think it could happen to their kids -- someone had to be negligent, right? The way I saw it: anyhow who'd ever let their child go down the street to a friend's house, bike around the block, or walk to the corner store needed to give that woman sympathy.

Every day we live we make choices. Some of the choices are not good, but with a little luck we don't do permanent harm. And sometimes we do everything right -- and the outcome is still tragic.

Making it home safe every night is not the same as sainthood.
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