(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1990)
(click on image to enlarge)
Yup, I'm not proud to admit that this really happened. Within the time span of a few clicks of the remote my emotions travelled from superiority to envy and returned to rest in the more comfortable superiority — and I didn't have to do a thing but lift a finger.
I was watching TV when I saw this item in a newsmagazine about a young woman who was helping save Jaguars in some country and realized that she was in fact the sister of a woman I went to school with from kindergarten to grade 13. I don't know, the fact that she was someone who had an upbringing not unlike my own touched something in me wiped out any accomplishments I'd achieved and made me wistful for paths not taken. Here she was making a real contribution to the world and living this exciting life and here I was in channel surfing in suburbia. Where had I gone wrong?
The actions of these 2 women had no real bearing on my life and actions, I remained on the couch a non-involved observer of life. Though, in truth, someone's failure to attain excellence doesn't make me successful any more than someone's excellence makes me a failure but I catch myself in this mind trap on occasion.
I've often wondered why the media often creates, falls from grace of successful and powerful individuals with such relish. One minute you're the golden child and then next a pariah. Is it because we find it difficult to truly celebrate the success of others without feeling it somehow reflects badly on us and in our hearts their fall assures our superiority? Is it because, underlying admiration, envy and remorse always exists? Is it because it's easier to witness someone's fall than it is to strive for grace ourselves? What makes us say, "it looks good on ya"?
This post was prompted by watching the media frenzy that's been growing around Abby Sunderland and her family. I have a new appreciation for the social media of blogging and facebook as through these mediums you can get the perspective and truth straight from the horse's mouth. Check it out at ABBY'S BLOG and on her facebook.
(Note: names used in the cartoon are fictional)