Hilarious Misadventures, Or Impending Wisdom?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 15.678% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

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.

1 Comment

  1. Mark
    Mar 12, 2012

    Ha, perfect blog post, thanks for this. Even reread some of your old stories, and they still make me laugh in a somewhat horrified way, quite cool.
    Ah, and I’ll have to remember that the next time someone tells me that what I’m about to do is a stupid idea, I can simply retort by stating that I’m retrieving potential wisdom.

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