The Unfairness of Whatif

Lefki's Trellis

“Who says life is fair? Where is that written?” – The Princess Bride –

That’s been my mantra for years. I remember Mema taking me to the movies to see The Princess Bride. I loved it! And, I just dated myself. Ah, well.

So, when Grandpa (played by Peter Falk) said that quote about fairness to the grandson (played by Fred Savage), it resonated with me even at a young age.

No, life isn’t fair. There’s no such thing as fair in nature. Does a Great White Shark stare at a potential meal and think, “Well, I can eat this one, but they’re nice… so, I won’t eat them?” Psh!

We can try to classify it and strive for it. If you’re like me and believe in Karma, there is a sense of balance – but, still, not necessarily fairness.

That in mind. If life were fair, I wouldn’t have a cauldron with a trellis for red bougainvilla to climb sitting on one side of my entry way.

Someone who I was once very close to… as close as sisters even… took her life. When I first learned of what happened, I closed my eyes, put my head in my hands, and was shocked but not all together surprised. Once it really hit, my heart broke into a thousand pieces.

For her to feel so alone… so hopeless… so unimportant… It’s Just Not Fair. And, it isn’t.

She was amazing, beautiful, insightful, kind, valued (for more than just her skating and coaching ability), and loved (again, beyond just skating).

If I could reach back… if I could have shoved my way back through the crowd… if I could have shook some sense into her… if, if, if, if…

I’m brought back to Shel Silverstein and his famous poem:


Whatif by Shel Silverstein
“Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!”

Really, saying what if, pointing fingers, or trying to decipher why this amazing person would take her life is Just Not Fair. It’s not fair to me or you or anyone else.

She did it. Maybe, she found the peace she was looking for or, at the very least, maybe, she found out what’s on the other side and is having a grand adventure.

One day, I’ll meet up with her again. Maybe, we’ll be drawn together under better circumstances.



And, Lefki, life will be fair to you.

Lefki Isabel Terzakis

March 23, 1978 – July 16, 2014

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