Val is a self-made out-of-box thinker and individualist de-hypnotized from social brainwashing advances.
It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.
When Jealousy Takes an Almost Sadistic Form
Let's start this real life story with jealousy of a little boy at his younger brother. He was three years old when his baby brother was born, now seemingly grabbing too much attention from everyone in that household of three generations.
Was it a case of a bad parenting, with an older child left feeling neglected, it's hard to tell, but that intensity of jealousy was not common.
Namely, the story had it that at one time he got caught just in time as he was approaching the crib with a long knitting needle.
Then the school years found him, let's call him Steve, not showing any particular success, whereas his young brother, call him Johnny, not only turned out a steady straight-A student, but was 4 years the chairman of the class, and 2 years the chairman of the students body in the whole school.
Not knowing how to get better, Steve used the advantage of being taller and stronger, so when no one was looking, he would either punch or wrestle down his younger brother.
When Johnny complained about it, Steve would say how Johnny kept bothering him, upon which they would react with: "Johnny, stop bothering Steve!"
So Johnny stopped complaining.
Their father will soon desert the family for another woman who also left her husband with a small kid, and they moved to a distant town. That left mother in a financial trouble, so that near poverty would befall them -- which included their menu. Mother, working on a line in a factory hired a farmer to bring every morning a container with milk, so that the boys would have at least something for breakfast.
Steve would always drink first straight from the container, while Johnny was standing by and impatiently waiting for his turn.
At one such morning Steve was taking his sweet time sipping slowly and every so often throwing a devilish look at Johnny. And then, as he seemed to be done, he pulled one from his nose for a good spit into the rest of the milk.
Well, Johnny went hungry to school that morning, while Steve had his moment of triumph -- or something.
The story goes on, telling how Johnny was watching his older brother play guitar, and memorizing some dozen or so accords. Then, when alone, he practiced, until he ended up entertaining girls and boys sitting on the curb of the street, singing and making those girls sigh.
Years flew leaving behind many, many more of such occasions when Steve showed an open animosity toward Johnny. Just before their teens were over, they both had to do their mandatory military service. Johnny got promoted to a drill sergeant, got a medal for excellent shooting and grenade throwing in all disciplines. Needless to say, Steve got no stripes on his sleeve, and no medal.
And finally, Johnny emigrated for a better life, while Steve stayed with mother for the rest of her life.
Now, did Johnny do all that just to show Steve "who was the better man?" Of course not; all along he was merely being himself and unfolding into whatever he was meant to become.
The only side effect of it was his brother's insane jealousy.
Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.
-- Joseph Epstein
Not a Little Word of Praise for a Deserving Alice
As we are going to see, the story about Johnny got entangled by fate with story of this girl living in his neighborhood -- let us call her Alice. They both attended the same school, saw each other casually as they were growing up, not knowing that the time would come for them to spend the rest of their lives together.
Alice lived in a "wall to wall family", being the youngest one, with four sisters and two brothers. At a very early age, she took up the role of a Cinderella, constantly assisting mother, who gave up expecting the older girls to do anything in the household.
The fate went crazy -- with a touch of old good Karma -- to give all sisters and brothers quite dramatic marriages with divorces, even some physical altercations.
Whenever Alice could sneak out, she would see her teen boyfriend -- who else but Johnny. They shared dreams of marrying one day and having a boy first, then a girl three years after.
The faith happened to hear those dreamy talks, along with ones when they said how they both wanted love and harmony in their life together -- something that they hadn't seen in their respective families.
They married young, their first home being a small room that had been used for a storage in that house, with nothing but a bed and a night table fitting in there. For the wedding, she borrowed a white dress from her sister, and he borrowed a suit from his best man. There was no ceremony, they married at city hall.
Then Johnny went to the army, and his "Penelope" was waiting for his return sleeping with his pajamas...writing letters...counting days.
Johnny was a pragmatic young dude, and while in the army, he spent many hours planning emigration upon his return. Namely, in that European country men couldn't get a passport unless they first completed their army obligation.
With his kind of mind, nothing looked impossible, and while all odds were against a successful emigration, those plans were the first thing he announced to his wife.
He made a one day trip to Vienna, Austria, found the Canadian Embassy, applied there, and returned home the same day, now waiting for them to process the application.
They made it to Canada, and after some hardships that are standard for most of the immigrants, the time came, some dozen years or so later that they made that first visit to their homeland.
Right from the start all her sisters showed jealousy. After all, how could Alice, the youngest one, save her marriage for so many years and live happily with her husband, a boy and a three years younger girl; how could she suddenly have a nice three-bedroom apartment after living in that locker room.
Quite casually, Alice expressed her pride of raising two kids in the foreign country without help from mother. One sister turned it around, now making it look like Alice was complaining for not receiving any help -- saying: "Well, nobody was forcing you to emigrate, it was your idea, now don't complain".
She never, ever got one word of praise from her jealous siblings.
Let others either envy or pity me, I care not, so long as I enjoy myself.
-- Joseph Hall
Ever since that Biblical story of a jealous Cain murdering his brother Abel over god's favoring Abel's sacrifices over Cain's, human nature keeps coming with countless examples of this crazy tendency of not accepting a sibling's personal qualities.
In our story, it was not only the siblings who were jealous, but also brothers-in-law and some other of the extended family. And then some friends as well. Our couple never showed any signs of an enviable success in life, never had anything to advertise, and yet, just the fact that they were such a harmonious couple, with kids who respected them a lot, was enough for jealousy to flare up.
Especially in this highly materialistic West, it was bothering people that Alice and Johnny were just happy to live in an apartment -- while they were miserable owning houses, driving expensive cars, making good money.
Over the decades, Johnny became very spiritual, not in a religious sense, but evolving his consciousness, reading many books on human nature. That seemed to be an additional reason for others to get jealous -- many times husbands hating the idea that their wives were comparing them to Johnny's calm and happy mentality.
In this world of miserable competition, others took all of his simple human qualities as his advertising his advantages over them. What a bunch of crazy idiots were they, as Johnny didn't even watch sports -- that's how little he cared about winning and any aspect of competing.
Well, so went the story about his and Alice's experiences with jealous siblings and other people of their life.
Over the years, everybody older than Alice in her family has passed away. Her old home has been leveled with nothing in its place built. Johnny has lost every touch with Steve.
Few years back they rented a place in that very ambient where they grew up. From that terrace on the tenth floor Johnny could see that two stories building where he grew up, and where Steve still lived. With a burning wish to see him, he never did, to spare himself from new experiences of Steve's jealousy.
And there they still are in their seventies, with Johnny still buying Alice flowers for no occasion at all, giving her a regular morning hug upon getting up, often baby-talking to her, with their two kids who are saying how in their fifty-plus years they have never seen another couple like that.
Is there any bigger treasure in life for them to dream about?
Well, on every Christmas they still talk about their old family with love, and yes -- with a regret that jealousy had poisoned those hearts so much.
© 2022 Val Karas