Scott Sparling

Hallucinations, a blog about writing, trains, and Wire to Wire

Unfair in my favor

Posted on Jan 18th, 2013.

Confession: I used to be a big Survivor fan. When Zane was young, we’d watch as a family. Sure, each show had a healthy dose of reality-show hoo-hah, but there was also strategy involved. Each week, we'd have some good pre- and post-show debates about whose mojo was working and who was toast.

The craziest part of every season was always the final tribal council, when the two remaining survivors had to answer questions from the outcasts. Inevitably, one of the questions would be, Why do you deserve to be in the final two?

In the four seasons I watched, no one ever answered that question honestly. The responses always had to do with playing the game fair but hard, being true to their values, etc., etc. No finalist ever looked at the camera and admitted what was glaringly obvious: I got lucky. I could’ve been voted off a bunch of times, but the key challenges broke my way, and things worked out.

Instead, it was always about their work ethic or their dedication. In the living room, I’d be calling the posers out. “C’mon, man. It’s 60, 70, maybe 80 percent luck. You stumbled on the Immunity Idol! Michael fell in the fire! That’s called catching a break. Just say it.”

And that pretty much sums up how I feel about being awarded an Artist Fellowship by the Oregon Arts Commission recently. I’m honored, of course. Very much so. And yes, I was dedicated and played the game fair but hard, etc., etc. But so did a whole lot of other very talented people. This time around, I was the one who caught the break. Next time, someone else. Like with a lot of things, you put your name in, and sometimes you get selected.

Or as Zane used to say, back when we were handicapping survivors, life is unfair, but sometimes it’s unfair in your favor.

The Fellowship will help me as I take some time off to work on Dogs Run Free. And the recognition means a great deal to me. Saying that I know I got lucky doesn’t mean I don’t take it seriously. It means I’ll work hard to live up to it.



You better watch what you do. "You Got Lucky" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.