So, I’m on a city bus leaving my low-paid job on the way to the crammed apartment I share with a leaky ceiling and centipedes. To pass the time, I’m reading a Vanity Fair article about Levi Johnston, the dude who impregnated Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter. Apparently Levi, who had a mullet before John McCain’s campaign staff intervened, is being offered TV spots and modeling gigs due to his newfound fame.
And undoubtedly Levi, who named his baby after his favorite brand of hockey equipment, will get a book deal while I, a woman who has struggled fifteen years to get some writing props, is sharing a seat with a smelly guy shouting obscenities into his cell phone.
Levi Johnston should be sitting on a city bus reading about me in Vanity Fair. Of course, the meathead probably never even knew the magazine existed until he was fortunate enough to knock up Palin spawn.
There could be two reasons why this is my life. One, I live in an alternate universe. Through some supernatural error, I was placed in this reality where I’m stuck on a bus while Levi Johnston pops a bottle of champagne in a limo on his way to the Playboy mansion.
The other reason could be that life is unfair. But I don’t like this reason, it makes one cynical. I want to believe there’s an all-knowing universe keeping those of us who are decent, gifted and relentless in pursuit of our goals from falling through some metaphysical crack. This “life is unfair” thinking might make me want to throw in the towel, and I’m not ready to do that right yet.
But the world has a way of messing with your optimism. My pal Eric just got laid off from a company for which he was bringing in serious bank, so they could split his job between two minimally paid nimrods. My girl Liz supported her aging boyfriend through a near-fatal disease and he thanked her by running off with a twenty-year-old who thinks The Hague is a British rock band. My friends Doug and Jackie are crazy about each other but can’t make a baby, while those bizarre Gosselin creatures persistently harass us from the covers of magazines.
In this universe, mean people get loving romantic partners, crappy writers make the Times best-seller list and conniving, self-aggrandizing boobs become millionaires on the reality shows playing non-stop on the TVs at my gym. Then, at the end of my work day, I get to read about Levi Johnston’s good fortune and find out how the woman who almost became vice-president of my country named her newborn Trig Paxson Van Palin. After Van Halen.
So, I’m going with the alternate universe theory. Somewhere, there’s another universe where only intelligent, compassionate people run for public office. Where good work and talent is rewarded. Where kind women get good boyfriends. Where everyone gets health care and fulfilling jobs. Where television doesn’t suck.
In this other universe, I wouldn’t really need to be profiled in Vanity Fair, though the opportunity would be lovely. My only hope would be to see myself, along with all the other sad sacks still plugging away at their dreams, finally get the lucky break we deserve. All I have to do is find a rip in the fabric of this universe so I can get to the other one.
Who’s with me?