Monday, October 11, 2010

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

It is wise to remember that you are one of those who can be fooled some of the time.

Lawrence Peter
I had a wretched morning. I woke up with my mind flipping through the encyclopedia of all the things I did wrong, mistakes I made, regrets I have and some of the many times I was fooled. Being stung, burned and bitten are not the best ways to learn one's lessons, but sometimes they seem to be the only way.

The only antidote to such suffering is a sense of humor, to be able to laugh at the stupidity and deal with life as it is, not as it was. I am good enough at forgiving the wrongs done to me and so poor at forgetting the wrongs I did to others either accidentally or ignorantly. I want to round up all the people I hurt and give them each a dozen eggs to throw at me. Hard boiled, if necessary.

Will that help? Only if I have learned the techniques I use to fool myself or allow myself to be fooled. The great lesson, of course is to think before you... step, leap, jump, speak, write, decide, buy, sell, sign, confirm, pledge, swear, think, ad infinitum.

We have minds with which to reason and imagine. Why don't we use them? Life is risky business at best, but it is rendered less risky if we think about what we are doing in the process of living it, where we are about to place our foot in the grand waltz of life. Sometimes a misstep can send us down a dark road with no easy way back.

One night I was driving back to New York City from New England. I had heard on the news that there was a major protest by the gas stations in New York State against the oil companies I think, and that all the gas stations in the state had closed. So I stopped in Connecticut and filled up the tank. After I crossed the state line into Westchester County on the highway I saw a guy at a dark gas station desperately trying to open a closed and locked gas pump. It was a futile effort. He didn't have enough gas to get where he was going and he knew it.

Another night in New York I was taking a friend out for dinner. It was in the early days of the ATMs and I had a bank card. We went to one of the machines and it didn't work. So we went to another one of the same bank and that didn't work. At the third try I realized that the bank's main computer was out and that none of the machines would work. So I made other arrangements, but coming away from the third machine I saw a cab pull up and the passenger get out and run into where the ATM was. In a moment he came out perplexed and I told him the master computer was evidently down and none of the machines were working. Here he was desperately trying to find cash while the cab's meter was running and he didn't have enough money to pay the cab.

I don't know what happened to those two guys but their plights were both good lessons in not fooling yourself by making assumptions.

Has nothing that dumb ever happened to me? Of course it has. One of the most graphic examples in my life was when one night at 11 o'clock I found myself on a street corner in Los Angeles with all my belongings in a suitcase, a dime in my pocket amd mo place to go. Finally I found a late night diner, used the dime to call someone I knew (it was in the early 60's when a phone call cost a dime). My friend came and got me. I don't remember how I got into that fix but I still recall it now as a good example of what can happen if I fool myself and don't use my head.

Tell me your story if you want to. I'll have compassion.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

4 responses so far.

Thank you.


pacifica62 said...

Gee, I don't think that I have any stories that dramatic in my life. Surely,I have done some stupid things which I wish I had not done. Have I ever tried to fool myself, well no doubt I have, but I must have gotten over them and moved on. I don't like to get mired down in that muck cause it can be a difficult place to get out of once you are in there. Just try to live and learn and do better next time.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I try and not focus on the past, but zero in on the future and all of its potential.