Short Essay by Sparkle Hayter
According to Stephen Hawking, if one second after the Big Bang the universe had been denser by one part of a thousand billion, the universe would have expired after ten years, and you would not be here.
If the elements had not combined against all odds to spark life and nurture its mutations over millions of years, if the Neanderthals had overtaken humans, if your first ancestors had not survived disease, natural disasters, attacks by wild animals and wild humans, if your great-great-grandfather had not left everything and everyone he knew and loved at age 14 and boarded a ship in steerage to a new world he knew nothing about, escaping war and famine, and if on board he had not met an amusing girl from another village who didn’t mind the mole on his chin and his overgrown eyebrows, bushy like shoeshine brushes, you would not be here.
If their daughter, a buxom, curly-haired widow named Dolly with three hungry children, had not prostituted herself to a lonely Toledo Seed Company salesman with a few extra bucks in his pocket, she would not have had her fourth child, your grandfather, and you would not be here.
If that grandfather had not heard a young woman laughing at a Jack Benny radio program from a high terrace in a residence for young ladies and asked the house matron for an introduction, you would not be here. If he had had brown eyes instead of blue, your grandmother would not have agreed to meet him and you would not be here.
So if Jack Benny had never been born, you would not be here.
And if your father hadn’t taken your mother out in his father’s Packard one night to look for Sputnik in the night sky, and if your mother had not said “Yes” after one solid year of saying no, and if one lucky spermatozoa had not chuffed up her vaginal canal that night, beating out 300 million others to find a waiting egg, you would not be here.
Multiply that by trillions.
The chance of you being born was less than one in a centillion. Almost zero. You exist at the nanometric-fine razor’s edge between improbability and impossibility. You are the ancient seed of thousands of generations of lucky bastards.