Latin is the problem here.
Deserere means “to abandon” and is where the word DESERT derives, an observation of sand and seer to the uninitiated.
Deservire is easier to understand because it looks like (to) DESERVE. As well, it’s pronounced with the accent on the first syllable and with a very short E.
Are you with me so far?
So “just deserts” simply means he got or did not get what he deserves as in “justice” shortened to “just.”
All this is merely prelude to a chat about those among us who believe that they have the privilege to announce who deserves - or not - his/her “just deserts.” There are many gods among us who seem to have the last word.
Who among us knows, actually knows, what anyone deserves?
I suppose it’s inevitable that when a drunk driver died after hitting an abutment, someone had to declare, “He got his just deserts.” Today, it would be more likely for someone to insist, “He got just what he deserved.”
Let’s change it a bit and have him running down a young man crossing the street in front of the car. The fellow behind the wheel runs over the young man and kills him, the driver without a scratch.
How do we sort out that one?
“That young man didn’t deserve to die.”
“That driver doesn’t deserve to live.”
How do we know?
Making such thoughtless comments are so familiar that we rarely think about how ridiculous they are. What’s more, some of us are delighted when certain persons suffer from results of their own carelessness. Which of us is qualified to judge?
I’ve even been informed who “deserves” a baby girl after having a baby boy and vice versa. What do we know for sure? Too many of us confuse belief with knowledge. I may “know” that I’m a female. Yet a very good friend, a gay male and recovering alcoholic honored me by avowing, “You’re an alcoholic gay male in a female body.”
I believe that’s one of the most sincere compliments I’ve ever enjoyed. I believe: I don’t know for absolutely sure. I also believe I deserved the compliment. But I’m not absolutely sure.
There is so much confusion as to how we feel about ourselves. Some of us are so rushed we don’t have time to muse, to ponder. Some of us have nothing but time and don’t know what to do with it. And we’re continually judging ourselves, taking our spiritual pulses or just giving up altogether, life isn’t worth living. Even judging oneself may be dangerous to one’s health, physical and mental.
Too many of us live with an undercurrent of despair. That I feel bad for people who don’t read, don’t love books and music, is a judgment. Just because I fill my life with reading and listening . . . Well, look! I wouldn’t like if someone told me I’d take off a few pounds by playing tennis or just walking. I love being sedentary and doing pretty much as I please. There is no right or wrong in this instance, only choice.
And choice isn’t stagnant - one can go from interest to interest. I was often criticized for having too many interests. Perhaps. It seems to me that having too many is not nearly the problem as having too few.
What are you waiting for? Try something new. Even if you are alone in your passion. The point is to BE passionate.
I’m not judging you - or me.