Back in high school I had a grizzled shell of a history teacher twenty years past believing he could teach apathetic teenagers anything. Most days, rather than explaining the course of North American events since 1776, he projected dust crackled black and white films of maligned renegade anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl stoically sailing across the Pacific Ocean in the flimsiest of vessels, proving that First Peoples had the means to travel further, faster and much earlier than smug historians thought possible. The few times he did lecture — whether it was about slavery, native rights, women’s suffrage, the Industrial Workers of the World, or the red scare — there was always the same two enduring themes. The first was to reiterate that the Declaration of Independence only puts forth the right of people to pursue happiness, and that nowhere does it say that anyone attains happiness. The second point was to drive home the core feeling of those on the losing side of human events. As the clock approached the end of the period, the ringing of the class bell imminent, and the narrative having exhausted its portent, he would tighten his fists into angry balls, his face would flush red with the enmity and injustice of those who believed themselves wronged, and he would wail as loud as he could, over and over again like a demented fearful siren, “IT’S NOT FAIR! IT’S NOT FAIR! IT’S NOT FAIR!” This display we were to understand as not only the central motif of history, but as the essential building block of life. I used to think Mr. K. was a burned out cynic who should’ve retired long before I entered his classroom. Twenty years on, having done some navigating of my own, I can only view his antics as a realistic summation of the situation. Maneuvering daily through an increasingly global culture of capital bent on measuring success by material ownership, relative worth and fame, I am frustrated. Idealisms of this sort are by necessity exclusive. In our constant struggle to move forward, to achieve more, to rise higher, to be the best, to eventually be the only one, I wonder how, at what point, can a person tell, if ever, that they are settled: that they have what they want, that they are comfortable in their own skin.