"I never noticed it," said Roberts, "would it have affected me if I did not have fallen arches? Would I have been able to run faster for instance?"
"Yes probably ..." replied the doctor.
"You see what it means?" Robert told me afterwards, "I could have been an athlete. I could have been the fastest runner ever and won many gold medals. I could have been famous and rich. I could have been a celebrity and met many famous people and royalty and been on TV. It didn't happen because I have flat feet!"
I said nothing.
"What is worse," he continued, "is that I did not know about it. Had I known at an early age that I had flat feet or fallen arches or whatever I would have known why I can't run fast. I would have known what's been holding me back all these years. That's why I am not a famous runner and celebrity today."
I think Robert has a point. Had he known of his pedestrian misfortune he would have had an excuse, a crutch, to lean on at times of failings. He would have had a legitimate reason as to why he has not been successful in life. He could have been a famous surgeon were it not for his flat feet stopping him from standing for so long performing an operation. An architect even, but his flat feet stopped him from standing on uneven terrain. There are so many things he could have been and done were it not for his feet problem. A model for pedicures perhaps.
And to rub pain to injury, he knew nothing about it until now so he could not have used it as an explanation for his failings.
And perhaps the same applies to all of us.
The reason you are not a famous singer like Sinatra, or whoever, is because of your vocal cords; and it has nothing to do with you having a voice that sounds like a ship's foghorn in the dark.
The reason you are not a famous celebrity chef on TV is because of your taste buds, and not because you cannot tell the difference between maple syrup and Tabasco sauce.
The reason you are overweight is because your parents overfed you, and it has nothing to do with your behaviour as a grown up.
It has just dawned on me. You see it on TV all the time. People blaming someone or something else for their state in life.
They blame their background, the fact that they come from a broken family, the fact that they had a poor education, or because of this and that to explain their present circumstances.
There are many people who have raised themselves from terrible and difficult backgrounds to become successful in life. I admire them and applaud them as an example to others.
But then, it is easier blaming it on your flat feet.