There is, or at least can be, a difference between achieving and winning. And between losing and failing.
Climbing a mountain that is challenging to you, even though it has been climbed by many others, is an achievement. Triumphing at a tennis grand slam is winning. Getting the top job is winning. Not letting the dick in the Porsche merge in front of you is winning.
Winning is fundamental to how our society works.
Winning requires losers. Often, lots of them.
Winners may contempt losers, but they absolutely need them. Without losers, there can be no winners.
Geoffrey in Toxic People, Gathering is one of life’s eternal losers, and the story shows how his role is essential to toxic lives of his father, his grandfather, even his “best” mate. He’s the only one in his family might be able to save a desperate situation, but no-one can expect him to succeed at that.
Thinking about the symbiotic relationship between glorious winners and no-hoper losers may lead to interesting speculations. Why do the losers continue in the game? What if they all withdrew? Which requires the bigger heart, living each day as a champion, or getting up knowing you are going to be beaten, but getting up anyway?
In this story Geoffrey posits the idea that being crippled inside can be far worse than a physical disability. And the story posits the idea that the beautiful people are not going to be around when the word needs saving.
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