I’ve already received a couple of emails with a common theme, written in response to the Worst Date Ever postings. Their authors wonder how I haven’t become a bitter and resentful old man after the unfortunate incident with The Waitress, and more recently, with the New Girl.
I’ve mentioned before that for the most part, I actually lead a pretty charmed existence. I seek out interesting and fun things to do, and oftentimes, the end result gets documented in this blog. I have a wonderful family and good (if sometimes unbalanced) friends. I almost never hit the snooze button on weekday mornings (unless I’ve been out the night before) because I love my work. I have known the love of a couple of good women (and the lust of a couple of bad ones, for good measure). I have discovered that the accordion is a machine that converts music into adventure.
I suspect that the universe, for reasons it’s chosen to keep to itself, likes to seek some kind of balance. “To those whom much has been given, much is expected,” the saying goes. Sometimes, the price of saying “yes” to life is that something bad will happen to you. That’s reality for you: risk is commensurate with reward. I’d rather “carpe diem” and take a chance that I might face heartbreak than play it safe and end up, as Jonathan Carroll put it, “asking what life tasted like”.
I wish that sitting on a patio with plate of calamari, a bottle of Dubonnet Rouge and a cute girl on your lap built character. (I’ve done it anyway, and I highly recommend it.) Alas, it doesn’t. It’s those Crucible/Book of Job/Judy Blume novel happenings that temper us. Carrie “Princess Leia” Fisher observed in her novel, Postcards from the Edge, that if you give someone a perfect childhood free of the traumas and terrors of adolescence, the result is ultimately Dan Quayle.
The other thing to keep in mind is that life, as the Stranglers song goes, shows no mercy. Sooner or later, you’re going to be sitting in the back of the Metaphorical Pickup Truck of Life and realize that there’s a guy in a Pikachu costume smoking crystal meth in the driver’s seat. His foot is jammed hard on the accelerator pedal, he’s drenched in sweat, he has the look of death in his soulless eyes, he’s slashing his own leg with a stilletto knife and screaming “PAIN WILL BRING ME CLOSER TO FATHER!”
Lesser people — those who can only thrive when the cards are dealt in their favour — will curl up in a ball and wait for the truck to eventually go off a cliff or slam into a bus of orphans and puppies and explode John Woo-style.
Those who know that winning isn’t in the cards you’re dealt, but how you play them, would hop over the cab and onto the hood, Indiana Jones/T.J. Hooker style, smash through the windshield, pummel the driver into submission and bring the vehicle to a complete stop. And then take everyone out for ice cream afterwards.
I hope to be one of those people.