When you have no common sense, your consolation prize is having amazing stories to tell.
Oh, sure, it’s fun to read about how I begged for change on the street because I was hoping to have sex with a homeless woman, or how I hid in a bathroom closet in a futile attempt to blackmail a bookstore customer…
…but this is the way my family turns rampant stupidity into something useful. Have a self-fuelled tragedy? Is there some way you can spin this into an amusing yarn? Then it’s not a total loss.
But at heart, each of my hilarious tales is a tragedy if you were actually there. I have a lot of hilarious stories, because I am not a wise man. A wiser man would have known to clean the apartment for his girlfriend, and not let it get to hoarders-style levels.
Each of those stories is either wisdom, or it’s not.
Let’s be honest: I’ve done a staggering amount of stupid things in my life: broken hearts, wild actings out in public, broadcasting unflattering details to the world. And if I’d had one scrap of good judgment, then I wouldn’t have done any of that. I’d have had the sense to go, “Maybe this fight I just had with my girlfriend is trivial, and perhaps I should stay at home instead of getting riotously drunk and rampaging.”
I have zero common sense.
What I now have is tons of experience.
Some call that wisdom. And on one level, I guess it is, because one definition of wisdom is “The sum of learning through the ages.” Which I have. Twenty years of fucking things up has given me a pretty good sense of how I might fuck things up this time. I have so many excruciating failures in my history that almost every major decision I made has the tang of, “…Do you really want to do this again?”
On the other hand, if wisdom is “Common sense” – the other dictionary definition – then I am lacking. Given a truly new situation, chances are I’ll make the wrong decision. Then come back years later and write an essay about what I learned.
This is why I have second thoughts about writing about what I’ve learned. I consider wisdom to be innate good judgment, which I do not have. Through that lens, I shouldn’t be writing at all. But if one considers wisdom to be the accumulated knowledge that comes from years of constant heartache, then I’m a fuckin’ repository.
So I write. Some days I think this is not particularly wise. But then I think, “There’s some poor schmuck out there about to make the same mistake I did, and what if nobody warns him?” So I write. Not that he’ll listen, of course – I wouldn’t – but maybe after he tears everything down, he’ll remember what I said and that’ll help him to pick up the pieces a little faster.
So I’m out here. Telling wild stories. Occasionally getting it wrong. Like ya do.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.