Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Of Unhappy Endings And Losing

I was thinking about PeteForester's comment on a post last week  about the fact that, unlike the original fairy tales, everything now has a happy ending.

It was one of those self evident truths that it took me a minute to think about.  "Wait a minute....no, no, he is right".

Think about it.  Every children's story - every one - ends in happiness now.  Disney has made an entire industry out of happy endings.  I assume (I have not watched one in years) that television shows are the same, or at least they insure everything can be resolved within 50 minutes.  Books perhaps end not well any more, but even those are not nearly as common as I suspect.

Part of this is human nature, of course: we want happy endings.  Live is pretty not happy - for some of us in small ways, for some of us in big ways.  We all experience disappointment.  We like to believe that things will work out, but often they do not.

But there is a profound difference between wanting things to end well and demanding they do.

It is similar to losing.  We have raised a generation that does not truly appreciate that sometimes one does not win and that even though one does not win, one still has to carry on.  Instead, there is wailing of voices and gnashing of teeth, cries of "unfair" and "rigged system". 

The same is true of happy endings.  We now demand that everything work out right, well for everyone, perhaps with a lovely song at the end and soaring end theme.  When it does not, we somehow feel that life has cheated us.

Understand, there is a world out there that does not suffer from this as we do.  They grasp that loses occur and that only through perseverance and hard work will one reach the point where one can win and one's ending can be happy. 

These are the ones that will succeed in the new era.  The rest will be crouched at home, living on the remnants, loudly bemoaning the fact that life is unfair and that they were cheated.

They are correct in one sense.  Life is unfair and things can end not well.  But it is up to us to change that, not wait for the world to notice and care.


  1. Yup. Schools that don't give grades any more. Everyone gets a trophy.
    Kids pass whether they know the information or not -- they can learn it after school in a remedial class, etc.

    And if you try to tell them reality, they don't want to hear it.

  2. The world will never notice or care, and it's true we make our own happy ending. Life can be unfair that's for sure. I've always been a fan of the REAL "cautionary tales" for children. Those Disney fairy tales are so far from the real stories, it's laughable!

  3. It is sadly true now more often than not, Linda. The unfortunate follow on is the world is not that way, and by the time many realize it, they spend years trying to get out of their old bad expectations.

  4. Rain, we are responsible for our own endings (happy or not). I wish we had more cautionary tales - but even then, I doubt most people would watch them. Unhappiness does not sell.


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