Danger, Will Robinson!

No one ever says, “Man, I wish something really awful would happen to me today.” Most of us say we want to go on a vacation, win the lotto, find that certain special someone. Good things. Nice things. And yet we humans appear to be hardwired for adversity. That’s why the fairy tales all stop at “…and they lived happily ever after.” Most of us would like to do it, but we don’t care to read about it. That’s boring. Maybe it is because hearing about someone else’s perfect life makes ours seem shabbier by comparison, or maybe it is because we need someone to cheer for. We want to see Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and the ugly stepsisters get their comeuppance. We want Cindy to get the handsome prince. But after she wins, we lose interest. It could also be that we like maps. If a character in a story is going through some of the same trauma and troubles that we are, there is a camaraderie, a bond. We might even get some ideas or inspiration to handle our own situation. If nothing else, we know that there is at least one other person in the world who understands. We are not alone.
That, and we’re a shameless bunch of rubberneckers.