Why are people so miserable?

At the heart of most psychological problems is a lack of self-esteem. This lack is caused by three conditions: inferiority, anxiety and guilt. The Magic Wand is a fable about three girls and two guys, who suffered from this lack. Like most fables, this story contains a magical element–a fairy godmother and, of course, her magic wand.

The Supreme Wizard of Golfinsphere charged Gwen (short for Gwendolin) with an important responsibility. She is to seek out the wretched, find the miserable, locate the lonely and depressed, and convince them they can enjoy a better way of life. Unfortunately, it was not a bit unusual for a fairy godmother to spend years perfecting her craft. Every fairy godmother worth her magic wand wanted to move up the executive ladder to the next rung–guardian angel!

Gwen was attracted to the glow of a lot of lights as she hovered around the planet looking for a place to fulfill her contract with the Supreme Wizard. Looking around, via the miracle of a hand-held, no bigger than a modern day, pocket-sized cellular flip-phone, this magic device could peer into the private lives of human beings. Gwen came to the immediate conclusion casinos were cesspools of human misery. Las Vegas was the perfect place to earn a coveted Angelship!

Things went badly for Gwen for quite some time. Although she managed to get hired right away, she was transferred out of room reservations within a few weeks. From there she went to the food and beverage department and was finally moved into accounting, where she had to deal with all sorts of weird people. Gwen was hurt and confused by her continued rejection from the humans with whom she had to interact. Then slowly, as she became more familiar with these strange beings, Gwen began to realize people feared a change in the condition about which they complained so much! While everyone thought they wanted to be rich, beautiful, famous and successful, but people were so familiar with poverty, wretchedness and despair, they refused to do anything about what kept them in their horrible state–themselves! In desperation, Gwen put in a call to the Supreme Wizard on her special access code, 7-1-1. When he finally called back the Wizard explained Gwen was on her own. Once a Sprite accepted the position of fairy godmother, it was up to her to find ingenious ways of helping people out of their emotional muddle.

Determined to succeed, Gwen made an appointment with the vice-president in charge of human resources. She offered to write a column for the employee newsletter that would inspire workers to live up to their full potential. When he stopped laughing, the VP of HR told her to go back to her job and keep the G/L report up to date because that was what she was getting paid to do.

After the rebuff from the VP, who thought he knew what was best for the working class, Gwen studied the heads bent over computer keyboards. Frustration, boredom and anger were the common denominator in the expressions of everyone in her department.
Just then, the People Peering Modem (PPM for short) began to glow! Perhaps if she let an employee know she had direct contact with the Supreme Wizard, Gwen could accomplish her mission and get back to Golfinsphere.

Gwen decided Betty Lardner was an excellent candidate, so she was speechless when the woman rejected her magnificent offer. Gwen had been so certain once a human spoke to the Supreme Wizard her job on earth would be done. Then, when the Supreme Wizard told her rejection was opportunity in disguise, Gwen had an emotional meltdown. She wanted to go back to being a Sprite.

Gwen liked a bright, pretty, dark-haired girl named Trish, whom the rest of the women in the office hated. She used her good looks like a grappling hook–to snare men and fight off girls who dared move in on what Trish considered her personal kingdom. Yet for all her bravado, Gwen sensed Trish was secretly afraid she wasn’t thin enough, pretty enough, or nice enough for other people to like her.

Debora was sweet, nice and willing to help anyone and everyone. She was the one in the office everyone came to with their troubles–and proceeded to dump them in her lap. Gwen soon discovered Debora was the kind of person who was so anxious about other people’s opinion that she gave them every opportunity to take advantage of her.
Then there was Mike, a kid whose life story read like a how-to manual for failure. The middle son in a big Italian family, Mike grew up watching his parents struggle to provide the basic necessities for their impoverished family. Although Mike was short and walked with a limp because of a bone defect his family never had the money to correct, Gwen sensed there was a heroic person inside the little body. He desperately wanted to be released from the misery into which he had been born, but he didn’t know how to make it past social and economic barriers. A deep inferiority complex provided the prison bars behind which Mike’s real self lay trapped because all he knew was how to be poor.

As Paul swaggered toward the coffee pot, Gwen reached for her PPM and pointed it at the arrogant VP of Casino Operations. Gwen was certain most people thought Paul was one of the most self-assured men in the kingdom of gaming, however, she suspected his dominating demeanor was a facade for some deep-seated anxiety.

Gwen decided to work some magic on the five miserable human beings. When she explained the difficulties of Debora’s muddle, the Supreme Wizard sat back on his star-studded throne and offered a suggestion–something he didn’t normally do. When he told Gwen to fire Debora, she nearly had a seizure. The Supreme Wizard informed Gwen there were times the worst things that happened to human beings were really the best things because it forced them in a direction they wouldn’t normally have taken.

Only Paul, the casino pit boss, stood between Gwen and her Guardian Angelship. Gwen turned the entire arsenal of things she’d learned about human beings in his direction. She decided Paul was a victim of the macho-male culture. Affairs were like notches on a gun slinger’s belt to Paul. Although he had a lovely wife, Paul pursued pretty cocktail waitresses like a lion after prey. Women, the younger the better, were a measurement of his manhood and a way to shore up his sagging self-esteem as more gray hair sprouted and the paunch that had mysteriously appeared about three years ago grew larger.

What to do? Gwen was too ashamed to call the Supreme Wizard and ask for more advice since she had been so reluctant to do as he suggested with Debora. Besides, she’d been on earth a long time now and should have had human beings all figured out.

The next day Gwen saw to it that Paul got arrested for drunk driving. Then she had him hauled up in front of Judge LeRoy, the local version of a hanging judge. Judge LeRoy had it in for casino bosses, who thought their money and status put them above the law. He sentenced Paul to six months of public service…the worst kind. .

The person who stood before Judge LeRoy at the end of his sentence looked at the world through far different eyes. Arrogance had vanished and in its stead tears of humility could not be kept in check as Paul told the judge about his experiences.
When he returned to work in the casino, Paul used his position to help some of the friends he’d made in prison find jobs in the kitchens and housekeeping departments of the sprawling hotel. He kept in touch with the widows and widowers he’d met at the hospice and tried his best to help them through the roughest months of their grief. Paul championed a fund-raising event that cleaned up the asylum with a fresh coat of paint, new furniture and pretty bedspreads in every ward. He looked at his wife through newly christened eyes and found a woman worth loving again. With the change of attitude came a sense of self-esteem that was simply amazing. Paul was no longer obsessed with himself, instead he’d found happiness in the one thing guaranteed to bring unlimited joy–service to others.

The Supreme Wizard sent for Gwen. At the appointed day and time, Gwen sat in the outer chamber. She was so nervous she was perspiring all over her PPM. She chewed her lip so much it looked as though she’d spent the last six hours in the ring with Mike Tyson. When one of the angelic host assigned to the waiting room finally called her name, Gwen didn’t even hear the sweet melodic voice. She jumped when the host tapped her on the shoulder.

In the audience room, Gwen stood before the Supreme Wizard, seated on his star-studded throne. He asked her to report on the condition of her five assignments. Gwen described each of their problems and the solution that remedied their human muddle.

Pleased, the Supreme Wizard asked Gwen where she would like to locate and set up an Angelship. Without thought, Gwen replied what she really wanted to do was return to earth as a fairy godmother because that was where she could do the most good. While all the fancy trappings that went with an Angelship, like celestial music, and fabulous feathered wings, were appealing Gwen knew in her heart those things didn’t matter.

With a smile so bright it blotted out the sunshine streaming into the throne room, the Supreme Wizard congratulated Gwen. He told her she passed the final test. Gwen was confused so the Supreme Wizard explained that no one ever received an Angelship unless they asked to remain on earth as a fairy godmother. Developing a love for human beings was the ultimate test and Gwen had passed with flying colors. Taking nothing but the well-worn magic wand and PPM, Gwen flapped her newly sprouted, feathered wings and hurried back to earth just as the angelic chorus began to sing. She headed straight to Las Vegas, and hovered over the Strip for awhile. The bright light at the top of the pyramid beckoned her like the Oracle on Mt. Olympus. Gwen knew this was where she needed to set up her Angelship. People in the pyramid were suffering. Their lives were all a muddle. With everything she’d learned at the Swarmi Hotel and Casino, Gwen was confident she could make a difference. She floated in the front door under the Sphinx and when she entered the vast lobby that soared to the top of the pyramid, Gwen was confident she’d found a home.

2 thoughts on “Why are people so miserable?

  1. Yep, it showed up in my email. I approved this via email, now I’ll see if it is going to show up on the website. Another friend of mine volunteered her daughter to give me some advice. Her daughter is the VP of social media for some big agency in NYC. I know how my kids feel about me volunteering them to my friends, so hopefully, the daughter will respond with some good advice—and hopefully, I’ll be able to understand what she’s telling me!

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