Conspiracy Theorist, Part 3:

“Expectation is the enemy to happiness.” –JSM


My daughter walked behind me as I was starting this installment. She stopped in her tracks, leaned over my shoulder and said, “Oh, wow! Cool!! You’re doing conspiracy theory stuff? Those are fun! Part three? What are you covering? I’ve seen “this” and watched that, and read “this” and “that”. My friends talk about “this one”. You might like “this” channel, hold on and I’ll dig it up on YouTube.”

I didn’t have a substantial answer for her. She was expecting a concrete topic to be covered and probably wanted to talk about it casually with me. Instead of replying I closed the laptop, and stopped writing for the day. I can’t be certain if there truly is a specific topic to be hashed out and dissected, regardless of the plethora of options.

Designing a conspiracy, typically involves the plotting and scheming between two or more people with similar interests. The Latin breakdown of the word becomes, “to breath together, or, to breathe with.” Most conspiracy theories, or conspiracies in general, are widespread and well established, mainstream, controversial, bizarre and a little wonky, but there are some more localized and close to home. Sometimes a little too close for comfort.

A management team meeting in private, speaking in hushed whispers behind a closed door. Designing, plotting, and concocting a sneaky underhanded method of compiled trickery and mounting lies to remove an employee from the workplace. Intentionally setting someone up to fail. A spouse and their lover cuddling in the darkness, navigating malicious ideas to remove an unwanted third party from the picture, and getting others involved in the charade. People gathering in a small group to somehow devise a way to benefit from the misfortunes of others. A conspiracy doesn’t have to be well-known, widespread, mainstream, or news worthy… it occurs right under our noses.

I know it’s happened to me once or twice over my forty years. Has it happened to you? I’m guessing there’s a good chance it’s happened to quite a few of us.

“They screwed me over. I never deserved that. I was blindsided. They could have told the truth instead of all the secrets and intentional deceit. What they said was a lie. The wool was pulled over my eyes. I was set-up. It never happened like that and everything said was fabricated.”

You’ll never understand the true meaning of being “set-up” and the horror that follows, unless it happens to you. I pray no one ever has to experience it. Truly devastating.

Sometimes those closest to us, those people we trust or thought we could trust, will conspire against us. That’s not even a “theory”.

It’s a fact, Jack.

We just don’t ever expect it to happen to us.

We have such grandiose expectations as a species. I least I did. I’ll never speak for others. I can only reflect on my own life. We expect life to always work to our favor. We expect our children to be happy. We expect our family, and those we love, to love us in return unconditionally. We expect nothing bad will happen to us. We expect politicians and those in the authoritarian positions to work to our benefit. We expect our opinions to have weight and meaning. We expect our friends, significant others and spouses to be loyal and honest no matter what. We expect our leaders to be truthful and decent. We expect apologies when we’ve been wronged. We expect drivers to NOT text and drive, or drink and drive. We expect truth. We expect the best of people. We expect to be comfortable, content, happy, successful.

For the longest time, that was one of my near fatal flaws. I expected too much. I had a ‘karma” mentality.

The universe will make things right. You’ll see. Good things will come to those who wait, and those who seek patience. Bad things happen to good people all the time, and the universe will course correct. 

I had to somehow find a way and muster the courage to cast those shackles of mental constriction off, and as far away as I could cast them. I was becoming my own worst enemy by expecting the universe to fix my problems. Expectation was the enemy. Expectation was the nemesis to my personal happiness.

Expecting something in life, for me, became an impediment.

I’ll never forget the time the steel mill was going through lay-offs and employee cuts. I was one of the few at the bottom of the totem pole and my name was floating around the building. I was terrified I was going to lose my job. Five years invested and fantastic benefits.

“Don’t you worry, Jere. Your position is secure. You’re not going anywhere. We need you.” Said the head honcho of the company, right to my face, during a lunch break.

Whew. OK… back to life.

Less than a week later, I received the ‘ol’ pink slip. “Sorry, Jere, we have to do what we have to do. I hope you understand.” He extended his palm for a parting handshake.

It took me a long time to fully contemplate the philosophy of, “We have to do what we have to do.”  I was so utterly and completely distracted with “life” I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

I never contemplated worse case scenarios. I never had a plan of attack. I expected my position to be protected and my superiors to be honest and upfront with me.

The opposite of that was true. I should have expected to be canned. I should have expected potential dishonesty. I should have been seeking employment elsewhere as a contingency plan, once I heard my name mentioned in rumor.

Therefore, I now work towards a new mentality of zero expectations. Hoping for the best, but prepared for the aweful. Not to an extreme, mind you, but a simplified mindset of, “Anything can, and will happen. What to do with that information? What to do………….what to do……………..”

I no longer expect apologies when I’ve been wronged. I no longer expect this fractured, cruel world to owe me anything. I no longer expect decency even when I project decency.

In regards to conspiracy theories I’ve come to a conclusion. My own conclusion of course. If people whom I once trusted and were once close to me, had the uncanny ability to lie straight to my face, be deceitful, be cruel, heartless, manipulative and have malicious intent in their hearts for their own personal gains, then why would I trust anyone or anything with absolution? I never believed those things could happen to me. Why would I believe total strangers would be any different?

All I can do is trust myself and those few folks inside my circle.

For me, trust is hard. When trust is gone or threatened, I burn bridges. It’s safer that way. I can better focus on what I believe is important when those bridges turn to ash. In my opinion, happiness is the most important thing in the universe. Each and every one of own personal quests should have an end goal of finding happiness.

The path to happiness can be a trial by fire. My trial revolved around Nancy. I was so focused on priority, obligation, bills, money, her health and healing, I never considered happiness. The idea of finding contentment within the new paradigm, was an alien concept at the moment. We had such a long road ahead.

He disappeared from my psyche for roughly two months, but Joe was the catalyst for me locating the path to my own personal happiness. A made up character. A figment of my imagination.

A crazy old son of a bitch who spent twenty minutes of our afternoon belittling me and pushing me around. Telling me I was ruining everything. I would be in just as much pain as Nancy and if I didn’t figure something out, it would all fall apart.

He didn’t stop his rant until I paid attention.


If you’re interested in checking out my contribution, and the contributions from twenty other international authors in a recently published anthology, here is the link. Paperback and eBook are both available for purchase. Thanks for your support and your continued reading.


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