Realizing ignorance is bliss

This is most likely the longest (and most depressing) post I’ll ever write on here, so bear with me.

We’ve been lied to from birth. Over and over and over again. It’s kind of sad, actually. Take a look…

Santa Claus

“Sure, honey, of course Santa is real. Now you be good so he’ll bring you everything you want.”

We should have known better. No one lives forever, not even Santa. No one man can travel all the way around the world in one single night, even if he does have the help of eight magical reindeer and one with a stupid shining nose that shouldn’t biologically be able to shine. No one man – or red suede sack, for that matter – can carry the load of toys that would be given to all the good girls and boys. And speaking of toys for children, why isn’t he delivering toys to the poor families in Third World countries? I’m sure they should have made the Nice List this year, right? What a jackass, that Santa. Oh, and how is he at every mall in America, at the same time, every day, for two months? Explain that to me, mom.

Easter Bunny

“The Easter Bunny is absolutely coming in the morning, dear. There will be little eggs filled with surprises scattered all about the yard.”

We should have known better. I think our parents were just trying to insult our intelligence. We were impressionable. We didn’t know bunnies couldn’t lay eggs. But now we do. Now we know it’s not some duck-billed platypus out there, strategically hiding plastic Jelly Bean-filled eggs in the nooks and crannies of our landscaping and front lawns. And why was he at the mall, too? What business did he have there? Why’d we have to sit on his creepy lap and force a smile for the camera? I couldn’t even tell him what I wanted. He just shoved me off and patted his knee for the next poor kid. Go back to Donnie Darko, you freak.

Tooth Fairy

“Just put your tooth under your pillow tonight and the Tooth Fairy will come in while you’re sleeping, take your tooth, and slip some money under you pillow. Doesn’t that sound nice, sweetie?”

We should have known better, because umm, no, mom, that doesn’t sound nice at all. That sounds creepy as hell. Some lil guy with wings is going to break into my room, sneak over to my bed, snatch my fragile baby tooth away, and slip me some cash? What is going on? It’s not okay that he’s coming through my window without disturbing me, like some kind of fairy ninja. Where’s he taking all of these kids’ teeth? Does he have some nice cottage in the clouds made out of our enamel? Does he make it rain with our tiny little molars and incisors, sprawled out on his tooth-shaped bed, basking in the toothy glory? What’s this guy up to?

We really should have known better.

After all this, though, we eventually realize we’ve collectively been had. Our parents got us good. But don’t dwell on it. Just chuckle, and move on.

But then other things start to happen. It’s like we’ve just bitten the apple and now we’re noticing the world isn’t so perfect. Pets start to get old. They pass on. Grandparents and great-grandparents become terminally ill. They, too, pass on. Wars wage overseas. You catch glimpses of them on the news, hear soundbites of a report saying that a soldier from your area has been killed. Sometimes people hurt other people for no good reason at all. And then you piece it all together: Life doesn’t always stay on the path we’d like, no one is invincible, and ignorance may really be blissful.

You may as well live life blindfolded, shielding what lies before you, because you never know what’s going to happen. You can be the lucky guy that wins the lottery when you buy your first ticket at 18, or you can be the girl that gets hit by a distracted driver as you cross the street. You win some, you lose some. That’s life. It takes us a while to figure it out, but that’s life.

Years ago, our parents told us we could be anything we wanted. We can be superheroes, or astronauts, or ballerinas, or cowboys, or the President of the Unites States. (And it has become painfully obvious in recent years that literally anyone can fill the last position.)

Most of us will give something big a small shot. We’ll dream beyond ourselves, shoot for the stars, but then we’ll come up short. And you know what? Some of us will make it. Why? Because someone always has to be the new starlet in Hollywood. Someone always has to lead their team to the Super Bowl. Someone always has to be the next musical sensation sweeping the streaming services. There are voids to be filled and you can fill ‘em.

So, I’ll leave you with this: We can all survive on hope. I know it’s what keeps me going. Each of your dreams may not come true, but continue to hope for the best. Look forward to a better future. Without tomorrow, you’re not living for anything, and life without a tomorrow to look forward to isn’t much of a life at all.

Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash

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