Life Isn’t Fair!


I’d reached the sagely age of five and was going to school! Which was neato. But what was even neato-er was that I would finally get to cross the street by myself! I still remember the delicious terror of crossing for the first time. I’d been warned that if I attempted to cross a street alone, cars—hundreds of them—would swoop down and kill me over and over again. And yet, here I was crossing the street, and not being killed even once. Then I had an epiphany:

Cars only kill you if you cross the street without permission!

boy-tooth-fairy-119325That was when I realized there was a Law of Fairness that governs all of life. No one told me that. I just knew it. If we followed the rules, everything would turn out just as it should: If we ate our green beans, ice cream would show up on the dinner table. If we put our teeth under our pillow, money would appear! Heck, it would even be brought by a fair-y!

One thing I was nearly as proud of as crossing the street was my new artist’s smock! Mom had learned at Open House that we would be doing Art in kindergarten, and would need smocks. So she did what any mother of an Only-Child-Who-Happens-to-be-a-Genius would do. She bought the Simplicity pattern for an “Authentic Parisian Artist’s Smock,” and spent two weeks stitching it to perfection. She finished it off with a gorgeous monogram just like the ones the penniless impressionists in Paris wore during the early 20th Century.

The first day of Kindergarten went excruciatingly slowly. I blew bubbles in my milk, tapped my toes during nap time. But Art finally arrived! And then Miss Shirley spoke the fateful words, “Alright, children. Go to the closet and grab the first smock you see.”

By the time I got there, my smock had been snatched by a little cretin named Davey, who probably wouldn’t know an artist’s smock from a dress shirt. Which was, in fact, what all of the other smocks in the closet were—kid’s dad’s dress shirts. Mine was the only Authentic Parisian Artist’s Smock. I went straight to Miss Shirley, and pointed out her hideous error in judgment.

Her response dripped with unfairness: “We all need to learn to share, Mitchell.”


Mom called the teacher and begged her to reconsider: “I made that smock just for him. It has his initials on it.”

“Monogram, Mother,” I corrected.

No exception was made. And I was irrevocably scarred, becoming at last the shattered shell of a man you see before you today.

OK, so I got over it.

Only a short time had passed since I’d discovered the Law of Fairness, and already I’d learned it could be broken! However…

I’ve since discovered a larger principal: If we focus not on being treated fairly, but on treating others fairly, we end up with something even better:


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Life Isn’t Fair!

  1. you got smocks?!? I was given one of dad’s old white button down shirts the I wore backwards for art. Smocks – not fair. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ellie894 says:

    Sorry about the smock, sounds pretty swell 😊
    Beautiful finale…fairness to others and joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was a fun little tale… Good lesson! Glad you got over it and weren’t scarred for life!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Glenn Riffey says:

    Thanks, I needed to be reminded of this fact this very day…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well told. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahhh, love this!

    Last night night I got to watch a Christmas pageant and as usual, we had several last minute actors who suddenly decided they needed to join in at the last minute. And the sweetest thing of all was watching some of other kids who had worked so hard, joyfully give up their angel costumes. Like, it’s okay, I’m so happy to see you, you can just use my wings. And that really is the whole Christmas message, He’s come into the world to give us His wings.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Love this too much for words… except for those.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. says:

    Love it! Acts of kindness with no expectations goes a long way ❤💙

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You SO good at remembering what it’s like to be a kid.
    I think as a mom, I’d have had a hard time with the sharing thing, too, if I had done all that work making a smock … but then I would not have done all that work. I was lucky if I had all the items that were supposed to be in the dishpan the first day.
    On a more serious note, I’m so glad God isn’t “fair.” I shudder to think I might have received what I deserved.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Loves this post! Those life lessons are learned even at the age of five!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You ran into the Law of Unfairness, but at least you got over the incident. I’m sure I’d still be mildly bitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Joan says:

    They could take your smock, but not your art. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such is life in the realm of the privileged. Great post, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: The Christmas Spirit is the Flame We Ignite in Our Own Heart – Emotional Sobriety: Mind, Body, & Soul

  15. That teacher was wrong. It wasn’t her job to teach you to “share”, her speciality was art not psychology. She forced you to share the beautiful smock that belonged only to you, why do certain adults shut down the hearts of kids that are entrusted to them…but it’s still a beautiful memory, beautiful because of you and your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

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