The only things that begin with the words 'once upon a time' and end with the words 'and they lived happily ever after' are lies and fairy tales, which sometimes happen to be the same thing.

In fairy tales, only the bad guy dies. There's always a damsel in need of saving; a handsome prince normally rescues her, they fall in love, they get married, they have tons of babies, they die quiet, peaceful deaths. There are knights in shinning armor, riding off into the sunset after they gallantly save the day. There is also a moral to the story, of course, but you have to stand on your your head and squint really hard to see it. And then, there's the happily ever afters—in fairy tales, everybody but the bad guy gets them (because typically, the bad guy has to die in order to get to that point).

Real life isn't like that.

Real life doesn't start with 'once upon a time'; it starts with you emerging from your mother's womb in a mess of blood and pain and amniotic fluids. Real life doesn't end with 'and they lived happily ever after', either. It always ends in death. It's inevitable, it's foreseeable; there's no avoiding it. It's what happens in between that really matters. There's no knights in shining armor, no prince to rescue you, no damsel in need to be rescued. In real life, princes generally turn out to be beggars and thieves, damsels turn out to be two-faced whores, and knights normally have a secret agenda. The bad guys don't generally die, and there's multiple morals that are occasionally really obvious like, 'hey I probably shouldn't have cooked the bacon that long because OH MY GOD IT'S ON FIRE'.

And sometimes, one of the bad guys turns out to be one of the good guys in a weird, off-the-wall, completely abstract way.

And the good guys always die first.

Edited and updated December 7th.