Monday, April 24, 2006

Stupid Things I've Done

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" ~ William Shakespeare

I spend a lot of time thinking and regretting all the stupid things I've done in my lifetime. Perhaps too much time. But the stupid things are the very same things that ultimately led to the man I am today. In many ways, they have a direct influence on the shaping of my own self image as a failure.

I won't begin with the stupid things I've done as a child. There are just too many of them, and anyway, what child doesn't do many stupid things? So, I will focus on some of the things I did since I became an adult.

One of the first big stupid mistakes I ever made as an adult, was my refusal to take my education seriously. When I was in college, I was more interested in the girls and campus radicalism then in pursuing a degree. That led, ultimately to dropping out of college. That, and the lack of funds for tuition. But, although I often use the excuse that I couldn't afford additional schooling, I know there were avenues to attain those funds that I didn't investigate.

The next one goes hand in hand with the first, in a way, as it is indicative of my naivete in regards to just how difficult is in this world to make a success of oneself. While attending school part time, I was working full time at Beech Aircraft Corporation in Wichita, Kansas. It wasn't the best paying unskilled labor in town, but it ran pretty much in a tie for third best, behind Boeing and Cessna.

I screwed around and loafed and avoided working, and made up excuses for missing work until the company decided I was more of a liability than an asset, and terminated my employment after 2 years. Stupid of me. All I would have had to do to remain employed was do my job, and now I would have over 30 years in, be a supervisor, and a mere 8 years away from retirement, probably with a nice nest egg. Beech is now Ratheon, the aerospace mega-corporation. I would no doubt be pretty comfortable financially now.

If I hadn't done stupid things.

Following that, there have been a series of bad jobs with bad pay interspersed with stupid mistakes throughout. All because of those first two stupid blunders that could have easily been avoided.

In the current century, I continue to do stupid things. I left my wife for another woman. Yes, it is true that she wanted me gone (and often strenuously insisted)before I ever dallied with the other woman. Any other women, in fact. But instead of working to improve our relationship through counseling and other methods, I bailed.


Once, I drove from Kansas City to Tampa Florida, to meet a woman in person that I had previously met on the internet, only to discover after all those miles, that she thought I had been kidding about actually meeting her. We had spoken on the phone, and made plans together, and I was in love. In retrospect, I was not in love, but in lust. I was thinking with a part of the anatomy that doesn't contain an actual brain, as the saying describes.


More recently, I have alienated and lost friends because of doing stupid things and making stupid remarks, that were hurtful and insensitive. And not my intention at all. And yet, I've done them.


Looking back over my life, I can see, in 20-20 hindsight, that the stupid decisions I've made, and the stupid things I've done created the situation in which I now find myself.

I think there is a distinct difference between doing stupid things and making stupid mistakes. Stupid mistakes generally come as a result of just not thinking. Doing stupid things, requires one to actually think and consider the consequences of a correct or incorrect decision. And then, doing the wrong thing anyway.

It is a thorn in my side, that while I take pride in my intelligence and ability to see many sides to an issue, I nevertheless do so many stupid things that appear to contradict the notion that I have any intelligence beyond that of my dog.

I wonder if I will ever stop doing stupid things.

I wonder if I am the only person who does stupid things.


jgf said...

Certainly you are not the only person who does stupid things. But the only thing to do is accept them, ask forgiveness, forgive yourself , learn from them and move on. Then you are a better person and hopefully don't do the same stupid things again. Though we humans tend to find new stupid things to do...

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Sometimes I feel like my own worst enemy when I have a repeat pattern of negative behavior. The best we can do is do the best we can. Try not to repeat the same mistakes by recognizing our weaknesses and actively doing something to bring about change.

Life is a voyage of self-discovery.

Francis Lynn said...

Don't fret about the Beech job - after 28 yrs they would have outsourced your job to India & given you a nice laid-off party at McDonalds as a way of thanks.

You are not alone in stupidity - if stupid acts were books, most of us would have a nice library. Stupidity will always be there to rear its ugly head - the trick is to minimize it.

Some stupdity thoughts:
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
Harlan Ellison (1934 - )

Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.
Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805)

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits

As if there were safety in stupidity alone.
Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.
Unknown, Hanlon's Razor

Goat said...

The important thing is to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them. I had a boss that told me upon making a mistake,"Hell we don't have extension cords coming out our assholes, we're humans, not machines.". My trade does have the luxury of mistakes, a mistake could cause very serious injury or death when handling very large sheets of glass. Mistakes are human and so is work ethic. I was semi-raised on a working farm and you were expected to correct your mistakes instantly and learn from them as they can be our most instructive teachers for life. I have been layed off one time and had a better job within 24 hrs thanks to the work ethic I had demonstrated. Mark, quit whining about past failures, learn from it and work towards a better future for you and your son with the same passion you use when debating me on the Bible and its interpretation. The Lord cuts no slack for slackards, He likes bulldogs for responsibility and action and He will test you to the fullest of your abilities, ask Job or Christ's Disciples, they did not shirk their duties nor wait for help, they kept on in the face of death itself. If St. Peter could transform the Roman Empire, perhaps we have the power to transform our own personal empire through the same means Peter did, faith that He will assure our success through Him. We should give no thought to the clothes on our back or our sustenance as it will be provided so long as we believe. My faith is not in me so much as it is in Him to provide me the ability to provide for myself. Once you can fully believe in the tranformative nature of His Grace you can believe in your own ability to rise above mistakes and bad decisions and place it in His hands to show you the path through that briarpatch.

tugboatcapn said...

Stupid is as stupid does - Forrest Gump's Mama...

Mark, sounds to me like your problem in the beginning was Liberalism, (a problem which you have since solved,)and overall bad judgement when it comes to Women. (A problem with which you seem to still struggle.)

I had the same problem for most of my life, (Women, not Liberalism... I was a Conservative when I was five) but in about 2000, I swore off Women altogether, and prayed for the lord to keep all the wrong ones away, and prepare me for the right one.

He did.

I went through a dry spell of Biblical Purportions. Every Woman I met looked at me like I was dipped in Fecal Matter.

But in Feb. 2003, on Valentine's Day, I met the right one. (On the Internet. Long Story...)

Since then, I have never had any doubt that God placed me with the one that He intended me to be with, and my whole life has improved dramatically, from my financial situation to my home life, to my overall happiness level.

Trust Him, and forget about your own tastes, and He will Bless you beyond your capacity to recieve it.

You never know. God knows your heart. (He made you the way you are for a reason.)

He might hook you up with a Rich Nymphomaniac who owns a Liquor Store. (My own situation doesn't miss that by very much. No kidding...) But He will do it on His timetable, not yours.

My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of my Wife are with you.

God Bless you, my friend.

Mary said...

Oh, Mark.

Please don't be so down.

Self-reflection is good if you can learn from it and be a better person; but it's useless if it becomes a psychological quagmire.

Everyone has regrets. I think if you don't, then you're not being honest with yourself.

If I wrote down the stupid things that I've done versus the brilliant things, the stupid list would dwarf the brilliant list. No doubt about it.

You know what? I don't care.

Being stupid is part of being human. It's unavoidable.

I don't want to sound like Annie and break into a chorus of "Tomorrow," but each day really does present new opportunities. By opportunities, I don't mean a better job or true love or whatever. I mean we get the chance to appreciate what's really important to us.

I think a trap that our society sets up is this notion that we should and can be happy, successful, and materially fulfilled.

For me, a good life isn't about that stuff. The truest satisfaction and peace that I've known have had nothing to do with career or money, and to a certain extent, not even relationships.

It's my faith that brings me comfort and allows me to let the stupid stuff go.

Smile. :)

Poison Pero said...

Quit being so damn hard on yourself, my friend.......Life is way too short.

Sure you've F'd up in the past. Who hasn't........And you will in the future as well.

I've never seen anyone bounce from high to low like you do.....Well, not any XY-Chromosomers, that is:)

You have a son who depends on your strength, and yourself..........Everything else is BS.

Don't look for your life to go perfect, and you'll find your life is pretty damn good......Keep looking for perfect, and your life will look terrible in comparison to your ideal.

I told you before, call me if you need a friend to talk to.......You know how to get ahold of me.

Goat said...

Looks to me like you have a good support group in the liberal sense, go read some Doug Giles and become a bulldog. I know its in you.

Sheila said...

Good Morning,

You have to stop feeling guilty for one. My goodness this is a waste of your energy!

The Lord never said, "Repent and feel guilty for the rest of your life."

What you HAVE to do is learn from your mistakes and practice not kicking your own hiney until it becomes a new habit.

No date, male or female wants to listen to the negatvity my friend.

Get some Doctor Phill. He's got a lot of sense. His Life Strategies is as straight forward and healthy as it is painful. A good wake call.

Lone Ranger said...

I once stole a piece of gum in the first grade, and it's haunted me ever since.

Trader Rick said...

Your dog is probably smarter than you give him credit for.

old soldier said...

Mark, without vallies, mountains have no value or meaning. Don't lose sight of the mountains... and don't lose sight of the fact that God is with you in the vallies. In fact He will carry you if you will let Him.

Etchen said...

Oh Mark, it's good to visit the past and to learn from it, but don't dwell in it so much. We are all our own worst enemies and therefore we are also our own best ally when we choose to make decisions in life that allow us to be who and what we want to be. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that we have to find the good in it and embrace it.
Better times will lie ahead for you. ;-) Just keep your chin up.

Erudite Redneck said...

God don't make no junk.

Simple as that.

Love your neighbor as yourself requires that you love yourself.

God loves you immeasurably -- no matter what you've done, what you've said or what you think.

Meditating on that simple idea alone will give you a good jumpstart toward loving yourself and shaking all this guilt, which is NOT of God. (It's from the other side).

Peace -- within yourself! :-)

Mark said...

Oh come on folks! I didn't mean to infer I am dwelling on the stupid things I've done. I am not. I am simply pointing out that I have done them. I can't take them back and I learn from them.

I guess, after re-reading what I wrote, that I did give the impression that I sit around feeling sorry for myself. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have my moments of self pity, but my natural instinct is one of self preservationa dna I have a very strong survival insinct.

Trust me. I am fine.

Lone Ranger said...

I knew that. Perceptive, as always.

Goat said...

Then quit whining.

Daffy76 said...

I had a friend in college who was "engaged" to a girl he met over the internet. He spent like $400 a month in long distance charges talking to her. She was from Michigan. He was in NC. When she finally flew down for Valentine's weekend to meet him, she was about 200 pounds heavier than she had described herself. Turns out the picture she had sent him was actually of one of her friends. Needless to say, he didn't marry her.

Everyone does stupid things. I tell my husband that I have days when I'm off the charts--just above drooling on myself.