It’s the first day to pick a word. I go to my pot, wriggle my fingers amongst the slips of paper and pull: ”Fair.”
Fair? Hmmm….that kind of stumps me. Not expecting that. Not sure what to do with that. Okay, just start.
As we are raised, we are taught “to be fair,” and especially “to play fair.” We’re instructed to share our toys, our books, our snacks, our rooms, our parents, our favorite things, our time, our very space.
That’s not easy for a toddler who has been coddled, every need and want addressed and satisfied. We are chucked into a world where there are others (others? Others!) and their needs and wants must be considered—what kind of holy hell is this? We resist, but then we bend, we adapt and we grudgingly learn the lesson to “be fair.”
Then, we grow up. We join teams; soccer and peewee football. We learn about good sportsmanship. “Play fair!” It’s how you play the game, not whether you win or lose. Or, is it? As we then get even older, maybe into competitive high school sports or academic endeavors we are told once again to play fair—though suddenly a hidden clause is revealed: ya gotta win. Strategies are employed, maybe even sneaky ones just on the edge of “right,” to catch the other team off guard, to gain an advantage, so we can ultimately “win.” The priority has shifted: from “fair” to “win.”
Enter the semi-real world of college; now “win” becomes even more of a goal, for there are scholarships on the line, positions and appointments to be snared, regional and national championships in which to compete—all in preparation for making an impact and to impress those people you will need in your post-college career. In the real world of our planet earth, whether you’re capitalist, communist, socialist or anarchist, it is all about the win. (And there’s nothing fair about it.)
Winning is directly linked with success in every society. We must all be winners; fairness be damned. Okay, but wait; when I was little, I was told by my parents, my teachers, and anyone in authority that we had to be fair, we had to play fair. Now you’re saying, fairness be damned. Did you just mind-fuck me? Yes.
Old Belief: Life isn’t fair. You’re naive and will be a failure if you try to be a fair person in your everyday life.