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That ‘Box of Chocolates’ sometimes has those awful jelly ones

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2011-05-09


Can I say something about being “realistic” here? I guess what I really mean to say, is I’d like to talk about positive thinking, and its opposite, pessimistic thinking. I often wonder how famous people get to be famous, as well as successful. And I think there’s a difference. I would not consider Snooki from Jersey Shore successful, just famous. The same with Keyboard Cat, who starred in a viral video on YouTube. The actual cat is dead; the video was shot in the mid-80s or something. Yes, he’s famous, but dead.

I saw Secretariat for the third time recently, and it made me wonder how Penny Tweedy thought Secretariat could win the Triple Crown. Speed horses usually don’t have stamina, and stamina horses don’t usually have speed. Plus, there are all the other little things that can bring a horse down. Yet she had faith in the horse, the trainer and the jockey. But what if? What if he HADN’T won? There’d be no movie about him, that’s for sure. How much of life is pure luck, and how much of it is hard work?

I think we can all agree that Madonna was in the right place at the right time to become a musical star. Can you actually see her doing her thing in the 1930s? Yes, she did work hard, and she did suffer (bouncing from one crappy rented room to another, squatting in buildings, being sexually assaulted) but the times were right for her. If I ever met her, I’d want to know the one question no journalist seems to want to ask her: what would you be doing if you hadn’t “made it”? Of course, Madonna probably would answer, “I knew I was going to make it, I just knew.” But let’s get back to positive thinking, and how not having a “Plan B” can trip people up. The sad reality of life is that dreams sometimes don’t come true. You wanted to play pro football; now you’re sitting in the stands watching a couple of lower-level league teams battle it out and desperately wanting to be on the field. Or maybe you’re a tall, attractive girl, and want to give modeling a shot, but could never get to the big city to give it a try. Maybe you wanted to leave, but you were afraid of being homeless.

Do I believe in bad luck? Yes. Do I believe in having some direction to head in? Yes. Do I believe in preparing for the worst? Yes. But I’d like to say to the positive thinkers out there that sometimes, shit happens. I had a weird feeling in the fall of 1998 that something big was going to test my family; later on that year my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Point I’m trying to make is, if we envision something, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to get it. Lots of successful people will say if you write something 10,000 times, you’ll get it; if you envision your dream house, you’ll get it. Sometimes, we try and try and try, and DON’T get it.

So for all you successful types out there, I’d appreciate it if you shut up about how positive thinking has changed your life. Admit it, sometimes people are lucky. If Paris Hilton came from a lower-middle-class family, would she be rich now? What would SHE be doing with that average I.Q. of hers? If there WERE a formula for success, all of us would be doing what we want to be doing full time. Like Forrest Gump said, “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around, accidental-like on a breeze. But I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both are happening at the same time.”

In life, we can try. We can drive ourselves crazy thinking about all the what ifs, the near misses, the fact that if you’d have left for work just five minutes earlier this morning, you might have been in that fatal six-car pile up. There’s a reason fate and luck are also four-letter words. It’s something to think about if you’re comfortable now, in your little world. Illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, accidents are all out there to take you from here to a place you don’t want to go. So keep this in mind the next time you wonder why someone who is less fortunate than you but seems reasonably intelligent ended up that way. Someday, it might be you.

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