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It’s a fallacy to think life is fair. Take nature, for example. Nature is beautiful, right? Trees and sunsets and puppies and beaches? Apples on trees, freshwater rivers, warmth from the sun? Nature is the Great Provider.

Unless it isn’t. Fire and mudslides and earthquakes and hurricanes. Poison, disease, and death. Nature is the Great Destroyer.

Nature doesn’t give two shits about fair.

If nature cared about fair, the lion would never reach the fawn, the tsunami would never reach the port, the cancer would never reach the lungs. Instead of falling prey to the whims of Mother Nature, we’d all be lapping it up in Eden. Ever since we got kicked out of the garden, nature’s been a jaded, fickle bitch.

Yes, let's start there, shall we? Eve ate a fruit and got us evicted. A lot of people believe that’s when this whole “Life is Hard” thing began, and whether it’s true or simply a bedtime story that’s gotten out of hand, the theory goes like this: Nature and God are benevolent, men and women are evil. And that amazes me. This idea that we all deserve to suffer. That we’re all sinners. That maybe, if life isn’t fair, it’s all on us. Because God.

Unless we’re deemed worthy, that is. Despite being evicted, despite being sinners, there exists a paradoxical stigma that God, or Nature, or Karma, favors the worthy. If your harvest is profound, then your hoe was surely true. You reap what you sew. Ex post facto, all the way.

Things I hate: People who think gay people deserve AIDS. People who think wealth is the result of good character. People who think poverty is the result of poor character. People who drive like they own the road. People who mention bootstraps regarding others and divine intervention regarding themselves. People who believe the Lakers won because they prayed harder. People who think Mexicans should pick strawberries for less than minimum wage. People who think life favors them entirely due to their own actions.

Or, more succinctly: I hate people who believe life is fair.

Which means I often hate myself, of course. Because I think that way sometimes, too. We all do it. We’re all the stars of our own movies. We can’t help but feel as though if something good happens to us, it’s either because we earned it (okay, sometimes), or because some higher power is looking out for us (um… no).

It simply doesn't add up. Because damn, do the underdogs try! They pull their hair out trying! Getting out of bed is a miraculous fucking feat when you’re indentured to Mastercard with no end in sight while your two-year-old is crying from a fever that reminds you of your lack of proper health insurance but you need to abandon her to pick strawberries for ten hours during a heat wave so you can buy baloney and Wonder Bread.

Let’s be clear: It was not “bad decisions” that put you there. Not entirely, and quite possibly, VERY possibly, not at all. Don’t beat yourself up. Please, stop beating yourself up. You’re doing the best you can. And if God isn’t answering your prayers, then he’s an asshole for caring more about the Lakers game than your nothing-short-of-heroic plight.

To paraphrase Steinbeck: If you need help, ask a poor person. Leave the wealthy out of it. For that matter, leave God out of it. Because people have a power that God has abandoned: The power to enact positive change through sheer will. People are the only potential counterforce to the callous indifference wrought by Nature, God, and Republicans, the only potential dam for rerouting a rapid flood of bile and shit.

Yet therein lies the ironic shame regarding the affair of fairness: Those among us who might have the greatest positive impact tend to selfishly abstain. We are lorded over by powerful people who think life is fair, who have the resources to remediate that unfairness for others and assuage the tide of misfortune, but who choose not to because they believe the less fortunate are simply getting what they deserve.

My tirade amounts to this: For those of us with resources, it is imperative to acknowledge that life isn’t fair. And we need to do something about it. Because we’re the only ones who can.

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