Over the years I have played many role-playing games. Virtually always I have done so as the game master, the dungeon master, the story-teller behind the action. Players decide what to do about the story problems I represent to them. They have characters that have painstakingly advanced in skills and levels of skills to use for the problem-solving the plot centers around. But ultimately, when they take action, the outcomes are decided by a roll of the dice.
Life is like that. You labor hard to control what happens next in your life. But random chance intervenes. If you are the Harlequin Space Elf known as Smiley Creaturefeature (the masked elf in the green robe on the front row, far left in the picture above) and your band of high level Harlequin War Dancers have come to Checkertown City Square hunting for your hated enemy, Bone-sucker the Space Orc, it is entirely possible when you use your scanner operator skills to find him, you could roll a “1” on the twenty-sided dice. This would mean failure. Not merely failure, but failure on a spectacular level. The scanner would explode, killing your entire squad, yourself included. And all those weeks of building the character up to level 17 in order to defeat Bone-sucker and his mutant minions, would be lost and become all-for-nothing in the disappointment department.
Of course, a benevolent game master would alter the outcome in some way to keep the story going. Perhaps the exploding scanner, instead of killing everyone, created a mini worm hole in the fabric of space-time and transported them to a parallel dimension where Bone-sucker is actually the chaotic good hero of Checkertown, and you must now work out an alliance with him to fight his enemies, the other-dimensional versions of you that are actual Evil Smiley Creaturefeature and his band of Evil Harlequin Space Elves. You must then defeat your evil selves carrying out the evil plot that the game master had originally designed for the villain Bone-sucker to employ before returning to your own original dimension.
Real life does not work that way. It works more like you see above. The lovely, metal-bikini-clad female barbarian of swimming pool repair is faced with the attack of the giant rats of city pool inspection, necessary electrical repair, and limited finances. You can see, if you look incredibly carefully at the purple twenty-sided dice, that her defensive attack roll is a “2” for catastrophic failure. Her sword cuts off her own leg and causes personal bankruptcy. The giant rats roll a lucky “13” on the black twenty-sided dice for successful tooth and claw attacks. They then go on to eat her and force the pool to be removed from the property, using up all the money the player (who is me, by the way) has left.
No game master steps in to create a more reasonable outcome. The worst possible outcome is what happens. That is how real life works. Roll the dice, and lose your swimming pool.