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Loser

I know how Hilary Clinton felt. Well, no, I don’t. But I know a teeny bit how she must have reacted to the election of that ignorant, lying, cheating, adulterous creep instead of qualified, articulate, heroic, intelligent her. It wasn’t fair.

photo by Eric Han

photo by Eric Han

So, there’s the Fatty factor. We had a porky Russian Blue named Fatty to distinguish him from his semi-identical twin, Skinny. I entered Fatty in a contest sponsored by a kitty litter company inventing his persona as a thug-like, jaded, feline who was very proud of his ‘crib’. The litter people and a minor celebrity came to our condo, interviewed us, met Fatty and we all adored each other. Well, not Fatty. Fatty hated everyone. But the host and the celebrity and the judge were smitten and Fatty didn’t bite anyone, which was a first. We were pushed out of first place by a woman who claimed her cat, an unimpressive Tabby, was dying. How could you argue with that? She was also single, depressed and had a mysterious ailment that wouldn’t kill her but made it hard to get out of bed in the morning. We were given second place with a year’s worth of kitty litter. She won first prize and the cat mysteriously recovered. Not fair.

Years ago I was one of three finalists for a writing fellowship at the Disney company. You would be given an office on set and supported for a year. By the time you reached this level you had proven yourself to be industrious, honest and funny. The final test was a phone call early in the morning made by the judges with three possible questions related to writing and comedy. I was fully prepared. I had notes and historical references and some snappy, New York jokes. They ignored the questions. The sole spoken sentence was, “What are you wearing?” I was in my pajamas, this was before FaceTime and Skype, so I looked at me hideous sweat pants and t-shirt and was silent. I knew I should talk about something banter inspiring but I failed to locate a witty rejoinder. My only response was, “Excuse me?” and then I stuttered out something unfunny and that was that. I didn’t win.

Fairness is an abstract. As a writer and a writing instructor I urge my students to locate concrete words that convey a meaning and a feeling, a memory or a sense. Fairness conjures up an image of a sulky, pouting person, me, in the corner, kicking the floorboards, jealous, sad and hurt. My therapist once supplied a word I despised, “disappointed”. This made me think of being stood up on your birthday, rained on during your wedding, presented with an empty room when you’re expecting a surprise party. I was told I had been chosen for a residency in a beautiful place in the west. Then I was told I was second in line and then I was told the first person had taken the place. It tastes sour, fluorescent yellow, feels like a badly placed IV. It sucks. It isn’t fair.

Molly Moynahan