(Written by: Lina Acuna-Banus)
Yeah, we’ve all heard it, we’ve all known it, we’ve all embraced it, and we’ve often repeated it: “life is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you’re going to get”. Thanks Mrs. Gump -what an imaginative & whimsical metaphor for our life course. Too bad it’s only mostly a true metaphor, in this writer’s humble opinion.
Lets analyze: It’s true that one never knows what ones gonna get within our metaphoric box of chocolates-namely the element of surprise, the unexpected, the desired, and even the undesired or disliked. Figuratively, one may “score right off the bat”, and bite into ones very favorite chocolate without much suffering or ado [e.g.: People whose life has always gone well from the get-go]. Or one might be confronted with a chocolate one may just feel “meh” about, thus you eat it with a sense of passive indifference; neither loving or hating it, but consuming it simply because it’s there. [e.g.:People who are merely existing in a state of apathetic indifference on a day-to-day basis]. Or one may get their absolute least favorite piece of chocolate. You know, that one piece you just hate or even dare toss-out because you’re not willing to deal with the dislike of it. However, if “life is like a box of chocolate”, then even the very worst piece of chocolate within our metaphoric box cannot be so completely unbearable, so totally intolerable, so hideous to endure or to consume. Why? Because even metaphorical chocolate is inherently good and thus palatable. Again, even in its worst form!
Thereby, I’ll agree with wise ‘ol Mrs. Gump that “life is like a box of chocolates”, when/or if what happens in ones life is great, fantastic, amazing, challenging, or even “meh”, boring, or unfulfilling; but ultimately, no matter what befalls one, it’s bearable. Ah, dear reader, it is here that the deviation takes place, and where I beg-to-differ with Mrs. Gump! I hereby submit for your consideration that life starts being less like a box of chocolate when what befalls one goes far and beyond simply the bearable, albeit uncomfortable or distasteful. What of those whose lives have consisted of the unbearable, the insufferable, the horrifying, the monstrous, the shocking, the nightmarish [e.g: incest, child sex slaves, human trafficking, victims of deliberate starvation and never-ending physical & emotional abuse, etc… *sigh*]? It seems to me that nothing inherently good has befallen them (like a metaphoric box of chocolates to choose from). I submit that for these ones, life is less “like a box of chocolate” and more like a *grab-bag (see my definition below).
Dear reader, don’t misunderstand me. I do not harbor a desire to sensationalize the macabre, but rather I harbor a deep and festering acknowledgement that some have suffered an inadvertent invalidation of their life’s circumstances because their lives are inconsistant, inharmonious, or merely incomprehensible to our perspective of what life “is” or what it “should be”. Mrs. Gump claims life “should” be and/or “is” like a box of chocolate; allowing for different options,choices, and experiences; but with all choices ultimately being fundamentally good.
I wish Mrs. Gump was completely correct. But alas, when one see the atrocities endured by some, we know that she isn’t. Notwithstanding, it is this writers hope and desire that the majority of those (if any) who read this, have had the grand privilege of having lived their lives within the safety, protection, and impregnability of Ms. Gump’s utopian and metaphoric box of chocolate. Certainly this writer, with the profoundest appreciation and gratitude, claims to be counted amongst that group. At the same time, let us not be so presumptions, so blind, so close-minded, so as to assume that all persons have benefited from or have been given the opportunity to live their lives as if within a box of chocolates; because for them that isn’t the case, and never has been. Sorry, Mrs. Gump; life is like a box of chocolate… until it isn’t!
*grab-bag: a collection of miscellaneous things, which can include both good and/or undesirable.