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Sunday, 12 January 2003  
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Life is not fair

by Hana Ibrahim

Life is not fair. If it were, telemarketing wouldn't make huge fortunes selling svelte images and tummy toners to the adipose clan and beer- bellied executives. Fatophobia wouldn't put a damper on cravings for chocolates and diet regimens wouldn't be such a fad. Gyms wouldn't be the gilt-edged portals to super slick bodies either.

We'd all be slim and trim and fit. We'd all be chocoholics and quite happy about it too. We'd be living La Dolce Vite.

If life were fair, there would be no need for a step-ladder called hierarchy or headwaiters in restaurants. Or shampoos that build body into your hair. Or surgical torture to force individual strands of hair into reticent follicles.

And certainly, if life were fair, there would be no such thing as economy class on airline flights. Or protest marches outside the Fort railway station. Or also rans in cricket matches and athletic meets. If it were, we'd not only be, trim and slim and fit, but also heroes and achievers and travel first class, all the time. But alas! life is not fair.

I have known this for a very long time. In fact, I date such knowledge back to my discovery of the man/woman difference and to a monumental finding that my brother got to wear shorts and climb trees because he was a boy.

And I wasn't a boy.

Fortunately, however, I usually have a liberal perspective of life and don't dwell on life's unfairness very often.

But every once in a while life lobs a curve ball in my direction alerting me to the profound and inalienable truth that: Life is not fair.

It happened while I was waiting for the bus the other day. Feeling exhausted, grouchy and generally disgruntled about life and the lack of old fashioned good manners among bus conductors, I suddenly found myself dwelling on how unfair it is that I am not Julia Roberts. And not because she's gotten herself engaged so many times either. But because of something I'd read that morning.

In a story about how the very rich can buy their way into a hassle-free life, it was pointed out Julia, unlike me, doesn't have to travel by bus.

In fact she hasn't travelled by any form of public transport since tinsletown took a fancy to her luscious lips.

Then - because I had nothing better to do while waiting for the bus, I got to thinking about how the same article exposed the unfairness of modern-day air travel. Compare for instance the manner in which you travel with the hassle free travel experience of the jet setting super rich.

Oh, to be one of them jet setting Croesus', sans of course their neurosis! To not have to pick my belongings or even concern myself with luggage, when flying to Majorca for a weekend of fun and frolic. With no bags. And arrange through an assistant for a new wardrobe to be bought and delivered upon my arrival.

Pondering the unfairness of being the plodding two-shoe me, it stuck me that the key to a non-hassled lifestyle - in addition to possessing great wealth - lies in the word 'assistant'

Assistants, in this context, are people whose sole purpose of existence is to erase for their employer all the tiresome realities of daily life that the rest of us mortals face.

Movie stars, in order to cope with the pesky irritants of real life, often find it necessary to hire many assistants. Nicole, I am told had six of them while she was part of the powerful, fawned upon Cruise-Kidman twosome. She had one assistant for her clothes, one for make-up, a bodyguard, a nanny and 'a general purpose assistant' who is said to be thinking of hiring an assistant of her own.

Not to be outdone her ex-Top Gun ex-husband is said to employ 22 assistants. By this you will see, the Cruise-Kidman partnership was not one that wasted time standing in the checkout line at the supermarket. Or waiting at the luggage carousel at the airport.

All this has me wondering as to my Top Two Choices for Assistants if Life were Fair and I could have Assistants:

1. A Wake-up Assistant who would be my alarm clock, coffee-maker, shoe-polisher cum bus driver, who'd wake me, feed me and whisk me off to office seconds before the King Kahuna red-lines the register.

2. A Cat Assistant who would be responsible for all feline concerns such as shopping for the favourite doggie shaped biscuits, playing fetch the Mouse when the feral mood strikes, emptying the litter trey, substituting as a scratch post, carrying the cat-almighty to the satin covered cushion at bedtime, bowing in her presence and dedicating the entire life to answer to the demanding meows on cue.

Because, whichever way you look, the truth, far more profound than life being unfair is: If life were really, really, really fair we'd all be cats.

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