“Exactly as it should be.”

“My life is exactly as it should be.” “My circumstances are exactly what they should be.” “I am exactly where I shouldbe in my life.”


These sorts of statements get my back up, but I think they’re meant to say something other than what they appear to. When people say things like the above to those of us who have had fairly miserable backgrounds, they don’t necessarily mean that everything is as we would like things to be. They mean instead that things could hardly have gone any other way.

Suppose somebody is in a high-rise, and, for no good reason, a bad guy pushes him off the deck. The man falls fifty stories, bounces a couple times on the pavement, and then is run over by a Mack truck. Did he deserve to have this happen? Did he want to have his body end up looking like hamburger? No. But, given the circumstances (the bad guy shoving him, falling that height, bouncing a couple times, and being squished by the truck), it is perfectly reasonable that his body has ended up looking like hamburger.

Given the actions and the circumstances which led up to the coroner’s van pulling up, it is to be expected that the dearly departed would be in this condition. It’s not that it’s “right”; it’s that no other outcome could reasonably have been expected.

It’s “exactly as it should be” in the sense that the immediate events could not have ended up any other way.

I think this is what people mean when they tell me that, (for example) as lousy as my current court case is, it is “exactly as it should be.” Given the man who is divorcing me, and given how profitably I made it for him to behave as badly as he has; given the “shark” of an attorney he’d hired, and given how “nice” and “patient” I’d been for way too long; there could have been no other outcome. It’s not that the way I’ve been treated is “right”; it’s that the circumstances — some of which I created — could not logically have been expected to lead anywhere else.

The terminology still rankles, but at least it sort of makes sense.

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