It may be trite to say, but life does give you the lessons you need at the time you need them. The trouble is that from the insides of our lives, the insides of our little fish-bowls where everything on the outside looks all distorted and strange, we never see that Cudgel of Learning descending upon us. We just see stars and our heads go doingy-boingy off the bottom of the aquarium a few times, and we wonder; “what the heck”?! On the outside of the fish bowl everyone watches and wonders why the heck we didn’t just move two inches to the left to avoid the whack of Life’s Cudgel. That’s just how Life Lessons happen. Some of us try to explain it through religion, some through psychology and some of us just go boingy-doingy a lot. That last group would include me.
My latest boingy-doingy moment has everything to do with a deeply ingrained need to be strong, independent, successful and, well, sort of like what a child might imagine an adult to be like. After the age of forty I think most of us wake up to some extent to the understanding that the people in charge, the people who wield power, garner riches, fame and the accolades of the distinguished experts of the world; those people are the exact same people we attended seventh grade with, and they had pimples, farted a lot in class and couldn’t conjugate a Latin verb if their lives depended upon it (Lucky for them, being rich and famous has nothing to do with conjugating verbs. Obviously. Just look at the leader of the free world… but I digress). They were stupid asses in school, and they still are. Now they’re just well-paid, famous and powerful stupid asses. And I am not. Rich, powerful and famous, that is. I’ve spent way too much time focusing on that last part, and not the earlier part. I’ve always known that I’m not better than they are, and baby-step by baby-step, I’m learning that even though I screw up a lot, I’m not worse than they are. And most of them didn’t get there by hard work, careful planning or sheer determination, either. If hard work, careful planning and sheer determination resulted in success, I’d have a mortgage I can afford by now. Sometimes it just sucks to be me, and I have to shrug and get over it. Boingy-doingy.
As I’ve said before; screwing up is all in the eyes of the beholder. Probably 74% of the people who know me think I’ve screwed up in things that I myself counted as accomplishments, and was very proud of. Conversely, 26% of the time, when I’m ashamed of some “failure”, people are thinking I scored a slam-dunk. The pearl of wisdom in this little statistical cul-de-sac is this: it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what I think, what you think or what anyone else thinks. It really doesn’t.
It may not matter that I’m not rich, famous, successful or admired by all and sundry, but I do know someone famous (never jinx a person by calling them famous out loud: always whisper): that’d be my friend Jim, of the We Ski Cousins, who are now, officially famous because they have a newly released cd, called First Tracks. They have a website at weskicousins.com, and a myspace page where you can listen to some of their music at myspace.com/theweskicousins. Since a lot of their songs are about Neihart or people I know, it makes us a tiny little bit famous too.