Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just Deserts By: Karen Pilarski

When I was five years old, my younger sister and I stayed over by my aunt and uncle's house. We slept on single air mattresses. At dinner our plates had a piece of meat, potatoes and peas. Our faces turned the same vomit shade as the vegetable. My aunt promised a special treat if we both cleaned our plates. Gulp! Our parents never forced us to eat healthy food like this. I thought about stuffing my face with chocolate and ice cream after I finished these mini green pellets. I chocked down each spoonful until the plate was spotless.

My sister on the other hand made disgusted faces at her plate. My aunt made her sit there until she ate those peas. The peas turned cold and mushy. My aunt's patience wore thin. She made my sister throw away the peas and said I could have my treat. I wondered about my sweet impending reward. Maybe it would be moist cake or cherry pie. She went into the freezer and pulled out a single popsicle. It wasn't even a good flavor. I ate it anyway but shot dirty looks at my aunt for tricking me.

Funny how people anticipate their just deserts and often are left a bit disappointed. Perhaps it is the sense of entitlement that bitters the sugary taste of what is thought to be owed to them?

It is often displayed in court cases such as suing or divorce. One party thinks they deserve everything for all the pain and suffering they were put through. After all the legal drama is over no one is happy. Someone walks away victorious but not scratch free. There is always a speck of dismay that looms. Is what the person deserves really what they deserve? Is it actually what the person wants?

In my own life I have felt I deserved my just deserts in the form of a relationship or job. When I was nineteen I thought the twenty-seven year old musician I dated belonged with me. My immature heart thought I was in love. When he broke my heart I felt I was owed some compensation for the pain I was going through. I felt this way despite my friends telling me he was a jerk and not worth my time.

I lost touch with him after a while but heard he suffered a few setbacks. It might be assumed that I was giddy with the him getting what he deserved. Time had moved forward and I dated other people. The just deserts had no importance now that I was no longer hurting. I realized I just wanted him to hurt the way I was hurting.

At the end of the day no one wins. Especially if revenge is the true motivation. Retaliation doesn't make what is deserved appear. Cockiness might not even earn you a popsicle. The only thing left is mushy cold peas on a plate. That is no dessert.