We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Those immortal words from the Declaration of Independence are beautiful, aren’t they? Our forefathers wanted to create a nation where that was true. Perhaps they even believed those words. But they lied. We are not equal. We never have been, and we never will be.
After reading all of the comments on yesterday’s blog, Preoccupied, I think that this illusion of equality is a big part of the problem. People really believe that we are equal, and as equals, we should all have the same opportunities and enjoy the same successes. But it just doesn’t work that way in real life.
I’m short fat, bald, and you might call me plain on a good day, if you were feeling very generous. Would I have liked walking into a place with a super model on each arm, back in my younger days? What young man wouldn’t? But I realized that was never going to happen, and it’s just as well. I prefer real women, the kind you can hold an intelligent conversation with, and who accept themselves, laugh lines and all, just as they are. Because that’s the way I accept myself.
I may be built like a football, but I was never any good at sports. When it comes to making or fixing things, anybody who knows me will tell you that I can cause more damage with a hammer and a screwdriver than a hundred monkeys could if they were all driving trucks the wrong way down a Los Angeles freeway at rush hour. And to be honest, I’m too lazy to want to play sports, or to build or repair anything.
But I was born with certain talents and abilities. From the time I was a kid, I had a vivid imagination, and was always a natural storyteller. I’ve never been afraid of taking a risk, if I felt the payoff was worthwhile. And I have always been able to make friends, anywhere I have ever been. That combination has allowed me to make my living doing what I love best, as a writer, for much of my adult life.
I know other people who can read the same page in a book a dozen times, and still not grasp what it says. But they may know how to tear a gasoline motor down and put it back together again so that it purrs like a kitten, or to build furniture that would look perfectly at home in the finest homes in Savannah or Boston.
When I was in high school, I had a conversation with the father of a friend of mine, who worked on a production line at the Jeep factory in Toledo. I remember saying that I just didn’t understand how anybody could be content with a job like that, when there was a whole wide world out there, just waiting to be explored.
Instead of being offended by my rudeness, he told me that he loved his job, he loved putting in his forty hours and getting his paycheck at the end of the week, and forgetting all about it until next Monday morning. He had helped his parents pick up coal along the railroad tracks to heat the house during the Great Depression, and that’s all he wanted out of life, a steady job and a warm house to come home to at the end of the day. “The world needs worker bees too,” he told me. “And I’m right where I need to be in life.”
No, we are not all created equal. Each of us is a unique individual, with strengths and weaknesses, with our own hopes and dreams, as lofty or as plebian as they may be.
I think a lot of Americans have forgotten that, or maybe they never got the message in the first place. We can’t all be super models or sports stars. But what each of us can do is to use whatever gifts we are born with to follow our own dreams, and work hard to make those dreams come true.
Tags: assembly line, athletes, Bad Nick Blog, Declaration of Independence, diversity, equality in Americfa, football, Great Depression, mechanioal ability, setting goals, storyteller, super models, talenmted people, working for a living