—Thomas Jefferson

This is an example of language gone terribly wrong. What Thomas Jefferson meant—I think—was that all men are equal under the law. But that’s not exactly what he wrote, and his words have floated off into the public consciousness. It seems now that we—as a people—share the expectation that all men (and women) are created equal. Not equal under the law. Not equal in God’s eyes. Equal, equal.

We all expect to run the four-minute mile. Earn a billion dollars. We should all be beautiful or handsome. Unless we have a better idea, we all expect to be blond, tall and with piercing blue eyes? If not, then somebody else has cheated. Or else I, personally, have fucked up. This blanket expectation of equality generates a good deal of self loathing. It generates a great deal of loathing loathing. Maybe we should all relax, enjoy our differing strengths and expectations. I like to run. I like to run faster than my friends, but when my friends run faster than I do, I shouldn’t let this ruin my day. Maybe they’ve trained more assiduously than I have. Maybe not.

Nor should we expect the underdog to win every fight. Take this position, open your eyes and you’ll be in a nearly constant state of outrage.<

Damon Runyon said it well: “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”