And that’s when she put her book down. And looked at me. And said it: ‘Life isn’t fair, Bill. We tell our children that it is, but it’s a terrible thing to do. It’s not only a lie, it’s a cruel lie. Life is not fair, and it never has been, and it’s never going to be.’
Would you believe that for me right then it was like one of those comic books where the lightbulb goes on over Mandrake the Magician’s head? ‘It isn’t!’ I said, so loud I really startled her. ‘You’re right. It’s not fair.’ I was so happy if I’d known how to dance, I’d have started dancing. ‘Isn’t that great, isn’t it just terrific?’ I think along about here Edith thought I was well on my way toward being bonkers.
And that’s what I think this book’s about. All those Columbia experts can spiel all they want about the delicious satire; they’re crazy. This book says ‘life isn’t fair’ and I’m telling you, one and all, you better believe it. I got a fat spoiled son—he’s not gonna nab Miss Rheingold. And he’s always gonna be fat, even if he gets skinny he’ll still be fat and he’ll still be spoiled and life will never be enough to make him happy, and that’s my fault, maybe—make it all my fault, if you want—the point is, we’re not created equal, for the rich they sing, life isn’t fair. I got a cold wife; she’s brilliant, she’s stimulating, she’s terrific; there’s no love; that’s okay, too, just so long as we don’t keep expecting everything to somehow even out for us before we die.
Look. (Grownups skip this paragraph.) I’m not about to tell you this book has a tragic ending. I already said in the very first line how it was my favorite in all the world. But there’s a lot of bad stuff coming up, torture you’ve already been prepared for, but there’s worse. There’s death coming up, and you better understand this: some of the wrong people die. Be ready for it. This isn’t Curious George Uses the Potty. Nobody warned me and it was my own fault (you’ll see what I mean in a little) and that was my mistake, so I’m not letting it happen to you. The wrong people die, some of them, and the reason is this: life is not fair. Forget all the garbage your parents put out. Remember Morgenstern. You’ll be a lot happier.
Okay. Enough. Back to the next. Nightmare time.