Meet John. He was born into an era that put him three rungs higher than half the nation because he was born with a Y chromosome instead of two meagre X’s. He earned his spot at university by being white in a country that shunted three-quarters of its population out of his way.
When he hunted for a high-paying job, it was because his parents were rich enough to give him an education.
When he got the job, it was because he was the right sex.
When he kept the job, it was because his skin colour was more politically correct than 80% of his fellow citizens.
John believed he earned his heaving investment portfolio by being more intelligent than others. He thought he earned his lofty place in society by being wiser, better, and harder working. For those reasons, John felt entitled to all he had.
When his mother died at the age of 86, he felt the universe had cursed him. He saw his father’s death as a life sentence and his grief as worse than the rest of the world could bear. When his wife died, John planned the funeral by himself because if life had taught him anything, it was that only his grief existed. Privilege had blinded him to everything except his own comfort.
Then John lived out the rest of his days seething with resentment. Nobody else on his torturous planet dealt with death, after all. He knew this because he’d spent most of his life free of pain and disability, so he thought the absence of suffering was a universal experience. When ordinary life dealt him ordinary suffering, John experienced it as oppression and railed against the universe that had punished him.
All his life, he had been patently incapable of empathy because those who’d been born with the wrong genetic makeup and wealth bracket had not achieved what he had. In John’s eyes, this made them inferior, and so he raged. If he could do it, so could they. They were weak. Lazy. Unambitious, thought John.
And so he judged everyone who was less fortunate than he was.
At 80, John found himself alone in his one-acre, double storey property with its swimming pool and its luxury cars and its landscaped yard. He raged even more furiously because he was *entitled* to more. His social standing and financial backing had taught him that he deserved better than this isolation.
He blamed his offspring for his loneliness. He blamed humanity’s cruelty for his isolation. He blamed banks, doctors, and advisors for refusing to deal with him generously, but mostly, he blamed the sky—the sky that stared down at him with the same blank blindness that he had always used to glare at the world.