Was F. Scott Fitzgerald Lucky? - Op-Ed Piece


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Was F. Scott Fitzgerald Lucky? – Op-Ed Piece


Luck is a strange phenomenon that we all know one key component to it; have it on your side. Whether you are buying a lottery ticket or kicking a field goal or finding the last half-gallon of milk, it is best to be lucky. If you succeed in things, you, like many others, will attribute luck to your success. Luck helped you win your money. Luck made the three points. Luck made sure that that last milk was yours. Does luck have anything to do with it? Is there someone going around handing out luck like a coupon? “Here you go, sir, you may have luck on your side today, and if you buy now, you get luck for a whole year.” “2 for one today! 2 for 1! Get twice as lucky.” No, that doesn’t happen.


But let’s take a step back; like James Harden, we are going to probably travel here and will overdribble and play no defense, but our step back will help everyone, mostly ourselves.


What is luck? Technically speaking, it is this. (according to dictionary.com)

good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance:

So yeah, it is stuff out of your control that somehow either help you out (good luck) or screw you over (bad luck) The key to it, is that the situation is out of your hands. You feel helpless against the outcome. You don’t have much of a difference in changing it. You are left to see the outcome play itself out without much intervention.

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I have often heard that it is better to be lucky than good. And that may not be that far off. You can control your own talent. Learn your weaknesses and improve. You can improve your ability. Learn of your strengths and benefit from them. But you can’t change when the things out of your control go against you. No matter how hard you work, or your natural talent, or your well-devised plan, at some point there will be an action that is out of your say, that you won’t be able to enforce your intelligence or ingenuity on it, and then you'll be at the mercy of luck. As Caesar said before changing Rome,” the die is cast.”


You can research certain lottery numbers and pick the ones that are most likely to win. But at one point, you have to put the ticket down and listen to the numbers. Your effort is not for you to decide. You can increase your foot strength so that you can nail a 50-yard field goal, but you can’t prevent against the bad weather that the game is played in. You can look up the stock of the milk on the store’s website, but when you walk into the store, you are taking a chance that the number you saw is the same as the one that is there.

I like to think of a character in a movie where things always seem to go their way when I think of luck. Like the bad guy who goes around shooting everyone, and when he confronts the hero, he runs out of bullets. Or the hero having the one item that can kill the villain in a very particular way that the hero, of course, makes.


Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time. And some authors can lay claim to this privilege.


History lesson for everyone: Do you know what World War 2 is all about? I am not giving a quiz on this. But do you know the main players in the conflict?


There was Hitler, his mustache and the Nazis, and their goose-stepping.

Churchill, his quick wit and the Britains, and their perseverance.

Mussolini, his trains, and the Italians, and a new thing called fascism.

Stalin, and his mustache, and the Soviets and their new thing called communism.

FDR, his leadership, and America and their resources.


Germans were mad at everyone for screwing them over in World War 1. They retaliated, and the rest of the world thought they were kidding when they spoke of killing everyone, not German. It turns out they weren’t. And they almost took over Europe until the Allies got their shit together, and fought back against the Germans, eventually winning the war.

Many personalities and madmen were using their troops like a person playing an online war game. If you collect certain resources from certain countries. Position your troops in certain spots. Make the right moves. That was not a game, though. It was real life. Germany was going after Norway’s actual resources. Those are actual tanks inside of France. America’s intervention wasn’t a level up for your character, but actual goods and resources that helped the fight for the Allies. World War 2 changed the world. Whether fair or not, it is known as the last “real war.” We all like talking about the Nazis and the Allies that much. Since then, there have been other wars, but the popular opinion is that the last time a war was fought on a large scale was the Nazi’s attempt at world domination. It’s not fair to the soldiers of the wars after it, but I didn’t make those rules up. We like World War 2 so much that when you compare something to it, and the Nazis, that is not either, people get pissed. Nothing was bigger than World War 2. Nothing was worse than Nazis. If you think otherwise, you are wrong. (That makes you wonder what World War 3 will look like?)


Now, what led to World War 2? No, it wasn’t the Treaty of Versailles. (That is correct but not the answer I am looking for) No, it wasn’t Franz Ferdinand getting taken out. (Wrong war) It wasn’t even the Nazis rise or American isolationism (Both correct, but once again, this is not Jeopardy, so you are wrong)

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The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression led to World War 2. It helped the Nazis gain power, and you know history stuff happened (I am not making this a history lecture) and caused the war.


Now, what was the era before the Stock Market Crash? The Roaring 20’s. Also known as the Jazz Age. A time of excess and jazz music. People lived free and happy. Women broke the rules and asked for crazy things like freedom. Times were good. But as Prince said, “Parties aren’t meant to last.” The Roaring 20’s would end; no one thought that a depression and war was next.

That era of partying and good times is spoken when you bring up World War 2, which is something we evidently do a lot. Before the battles between the elephant and the whale, the personalities of modern dictators, the horrors of a holocaust, you bring up how it all got started, so you talk of the Stock Market Crash, and at that moment in time, you mention how the Roaring 20’s came to an end.


What was the Roaring ’20s? Did someone write about it? Why does it matter when it comes to World War 2? And most importantly, am I giving away points for all these questions?

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Luckily for you, someone did, in fact, write about the Roaring ’20s. We call that man F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Francis, for those who were close to him. And no, I am not giving out points.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote great novels in a time period that is relevant to the larger story of our society. Someone had to write of the time before the war. It just so happened to be F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Maybe you could say that the classic writer was ahead of his time since he wrote the book called “Tales Of The Jazz Age” That sounds like he made the whole thing popular. Plus, his novel The Great Gatsby and his other novels are about that lifestyle. He was a great writer, so it is only natural that an era is named after his work. If you hold this view of Fitzgerald, then you should name him as the greatest writer ever because that is a very impressive feat and not one that most ascribe to. He was so good he inspired a whole movement? I like the guy, but that may be giving him too much credit.

Other great writers don’t have the benefit of World War 2 as part of their discussion. Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway are two, I think of them, off the top of my head. They both were as talented as Fitzgerald, possibly even more, but they are not talked of as much because of their lack of affiliation with World War 2. There are other writers that I can add to this, like Jane Austen, but those are two that I thought of right away.


F. Scott Fitzgerald is spoken of in circles that he shouldn’t be. His books are brought up in history lessons when they otherwise shouldn’t be. That is a very lucky event to happen to the author.


I am not saying that he wasn’t a classic writer. He was. But if he wrote of other things besides the Jazz Age, would we really talk of him in the same way? Does he benefit from our already invested interest in the biggest war ever?


F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of the period before the most talked about war of all time. If there is a time to write about for a writer, if there is a time that can help create publicity for a book, without much help from the author, it is around the time of already much public interest.

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Fitzgerald had no hand in creating all of the intrigues to World War 2. He didn’t know any of the leaders; at least, I don’t think he did. He didn’t fight in the war. He is not responsible for the personalities, the events that we all know, the dates we remember, and the war we can’t stop talking about. Yet, he benefited from the war more than anyone, in my opinion.


I think that Fitzgerald got fortunate with the style of his writings fitting our larger story we tell. We bring him up when we mention World War 2, and if he chose to write up someone else, he would not be viewed in the same regard as he is now.


Was F. Scott Fitzgerald lucky? Yes, in a way, he was.

Ending

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I would like to talk more about this author in more posts, because I think the guy is a great talent and had a fascinating life.

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Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.

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