Teddy Frickle thought that all humans basically lived the same life, because Teddy Frickle seemed unable to see the little things that made every life special. To him, his sister was bound to live the same life he lived – the same life his parents had had and their parents before them. Fickle Frickle, as his sister called him, thought that he didn´t have a choice. He thought that no one had a choice, really. People were prone to lead the same boring lives, just as they were prone to not knowing that they lived the same boring life as any other person. He thought it most hilarious when people mentioned their extraordinary lives or the extraordinary things that had happen in their friends´ lives, because he thought that there was nothing extraordinary about being ordinary – and ordinary these lives most definitely were.
Teddy Frickle categorized life into aspect categories. To him, lives could either be good or bad, depending on its aspects. A good life was one where you are mostly lucky. You are a good-looking baby, perfect smiles on all the kindergarten pictures. You get into good schools, are the quarterback or a cheerleader and you score good grades throughout your school career. After school, depending on what you want to do with your life, you get into the right college, get your degree in a standard period of time and you go on to work in a good work place. You find a decent man or a beautiful woman, get married after two or three years together and then you start having children and watch them do the same things you did all over again.
A bad life was quite the same, basically. But you have to work much harder for what you have. You are one of the ugly babies no one wants to take a picture with and people would make up excuses why the wouldn´t want to hold you. They would say they aren´t good with babies and would probably drop you and the good parents that they are, your mum and dad will not want them to hold you, because they don´t want you to be dropped on the floor. They will never know it´s because you are ugly, because to them – miraculously – you are beautiful. In kindergarten, you get into a fight the first day and your parents have to pick you up. You either have swallowed sand or someone hit you with some tool from the sandbox or your nose is bleeding. In school, you are either part of the sub-groups and you don´t realize your not cool or, and that´s probably worse, you are a complete misfit, a pariah even, no one likes you, no one talks to you your entire school career, and you get C´s no matter how hard you work. After school you tend to find your path in life, you find your niche and you are happy for a while until you learn that being part of the sub-group means you are not mainstream enough to get the job you want. It will take you ten years to realize that and you will start changing you life, but the mainstream people are much younger and fitter and had a better education and you never get the job you really want because you are ten years behind and there is no smile big enough to gloss over the fact that you are old and people want fresh blood and women in tight pants and toned men with British accents. Your one-night-stand gets you knocked up and you can´t even remember his name, so you write down John Smith on your kid´s birth certificate. And then you watch your kid having to live the same life you did and you think you will tell it how to lead a better life but you know you will fail, so at some point you´ll stop trying.
Teddy Frickle believed that his parents had had good lives. His sister was bound to have a good life as well. She was good in class and everyone loved her. He knew that she´d make the cheerleading team. Her hair was all shiny and when she wore it in a ponytail, it had just the right bounce to it, swinging happily from one side to another when she walked.
His mother, even from his pessimistic viewpoint, was one of the most beautiful women in the neighborhood. Mrs. Turner from three doors down was just as beautiful, but she was older than his mother. Mrs. Frickle had succeeded at everything in her life. Teddy often thought that his theory about aspect lives really started when trying to write an assignment for History, researching his parents´ youth and comparing it to his own. While going through his mother´s photo albums and looking at her smiling to him from every picture, he realized that she had had a good life. Her childhood had been a happy one and when she talked about her youth, she smiled and he knew that she lived through the most exciting moments in her memory. He wondered if there had ever been anything going wrong in his mother´s life and he learned that there were only not so good things that turned out to be the low points right before something really good happened. Jared Johnson had broken up with her right before prom – but then she had met dad and that was the beginning of their never-ending romance which sickened Teddy every time he heard the story.
Because Teddy Frickle, even though he was the child of two people who lived good lives, wasn´t as lucky. Teddy Frickle had a bad life. A really, really bad one. And even though his shrink wanted for him to see the good things in his life, Teddy knew deep down that there was nothing truly good about his life. All the good things that had happened inevitably led to something bad.
Teddy Frickle lived all his life thinking that he had a bad life. Like a vicious circle, one mishap followed the next, and by the time Teddy moved out of his parents´ house he knew that his life was doomed. A stronger person would´ve try to make the best of it, but Teddy – knowing that he couldn´t change his life – simply gave up.
He got a boring job at a company that didn´t pay well. He lived next door to a woman he was secretly in love with, but was dating another girl, less beautiful, less exotic, less good. They lived an ordinary life, just like all the other suckers. They bought plants when they moved in together. When she got pregnant after two or three years, they moved into a little house in the suburb, named their children after their parents in an attempt to break the curse of a bad life and went on living a life much like all the other people.
Up until old age, Teddy Frickle thought he had been living the most horrendous life ever. He was unable to see any good that had come from his life and he decided that his life hadn´t been worth the trouble. On his bad days, when his wife didn´t know who he was and his children didn´t come to visit, he thought to himself that he would have been better off had he killed himself the second he learned about the aspect categories of life.
Not even when his wife died – he was by her side, sitting silently next to her bed while she drew her last breath – did Teddy Frickle learn that there had indeed been good things in his life. Like a golden thread running through his life, his never-ending pessimism and the fact that it had led him to rethink and review every decision he had ever made until he was completely satisfied that the consequences of said decision would not ruin his life, Teddy Frickle had always chosen the lesser of two evils. Thus, he had always chosen good, he had always chosen wisely. What he thought was a monopoly on bad luck, was indeed his very own happiness, his very own path to goodness and a good life. Unfortunately so, Teddy Frickle never realized that. He held on to his belief that he had remained on the dark side of life even when death finally came to him and he was surrounded my his family who wished him farewell and hoped that he would be reunited with his wife in their afterlife. Teddy Frickle´s last thought was not as hopeful. He regretted having lived such a bad life and wondered if with his death would break the curse.