Very Bad Decisions

I was recently recalling for a friend the story of my 1 minute of fame (/infamy). I make a lot of jokes on here about the awful dates I’ve had – but I’m not too proud too admit that I too have been the awful date. I know – unimaginable. I’ll tell you a not-so-secret secret: I have a history of very bad decisions. In the waltz of life, I have partnered up with bad decisions most often – taking their hand every opportunity I get and whirling around the dance floor with abandon only to end up hitting someone in the face with a high heel that’s flown into the appalled crowd – flat on my ass – skirt encircling my head like a victory wreath of idiocy. The pain of a bad decision – gone really bad.

While living in San Diego, I agreed to go on a blind date for a local magazine. Anybody in their right mind would have seen this for what it was – a one-way ticket to train wreck. But, blinded by the bright, bright lights of Pacific Beach Magazine celebritydom – I accepted the invitation with open arms.

Bad decision.

Having been through a long winter, still crawling out from underneath the rubble of some old relationships – this was the last thing I should have done. But common sense be damned! I was convinced this was going to be a new start and a ticket to tons of exciting dates, probably some romantic whirlwind trips to Mexico, and surely a flurry of proposals that I would, regrettably, have to turn down because I was so enjoying my new-found sex-symbol status. All of this courtesy of the widespread, world-renowned sensation that would be my blind date article. The article which just happened to be in a free, local, advertisement-saturated publication that reaches out to complete strangers for content.

The date began with surfing a 10-foot wave at a bar on the beach – which I was excited about – but the thought of being photographed in a bikini for all the 9 blocks of Pacific Beach to see was something I was not so down with (nevermind that on a normal day I’d traipse into Trader Joe’s like a growth-stunned Bo Derek just to pick up my groceries). I ingested nothing that I had to chew to get down the week earlier. I arrived at the Wavehouse confident, with only a little nervousness. Then I met my date. He was from Vegas – he was into bail bonds – we had nothing to talk about and, in general, he didn’t seem to actually like talking. After some surfing, they got a round of drinks and a shot of tequila for both of us and the crew, and cheers-ed to first dates. I decided, weighing in at 98 pounds without a morsel of food in my stomach, that I was going to need to go ahead and do this shot in order to get through an on-the-record date with a guy who I didn’t like as a date OR a person.

Bad Decision.

A few weeks later a friend left me a somewhat frantic voicemail.

“The article is out??? What does it say???” I pleaded, knowing full well how the whole thing had gone down…

“Well,” she said, “….it’s…not so good.”

Long story short, about 30 minutes after I took that shot I was a slurred-talking, somewhat walking ball ‘o mess. I could only be thankful that any contact I had with surfboards was over by the time the alcohol took hold. When I finally read the article my poor little damaged heart picked itself up off the floor of my stomach just long enough to dramatically sigh, faint, implode with a little poof of smoke, and die. The name of my office was mentioned in the same paragraph that contained grisly details of my intoxication. My car had been towed to the tune of over $500. I found out stacks of copies had been distributed at the gym I still worked at part-time because they had just signed an advertising deal. And to seal the KO  (oh, horror) I had put my wetsuit on backwards. Everyone was finally going to know I was ACTUALLY from the midwest.

If these scary stories are the kinds of thing that ring your bell – you’ll find the article in its entirety here – but I have to warn you it’s not as funny as it is painful. If I’m going to commit to announcing my hideous truth though – I’ve got to just let it all hang out.

Yes world, it’s true. My life thus far has been absolutely riddled with bad decisions. Oftentimes leading directly to “crippling fallout,” “meager existence,” and of course “subsequent bad decisions”. I’m pretty sure every choice you’ll be confronted with in life has the potential to someday be referred to as “that bad decision”. When confronted though, I personally always happen to err toward the side of extreme LACK of caution. Packing up my car and moving cross-country without a plan. Dating the “wrong” guy. Quitting a job without having a back-up 2 days before my benefits kick in.

But here it is: after all is said and done, here I stand – atop my mangled dirty trash heap of “poor” life choices – what is supposed to be the consequential wreckage of my decisions – and I’ve got to tell you – STILL, my only instinct is to yell from the top with arms widespread and a huge grin on my face – “THIS is the f’ing LIFE!”

For years people have pondered out loud to me – “Man, you make some weird choices, but it all seems to work out for you.” What I’ve never said back is that, about half the time, it doesn’t. It REALLY doesn’t. I have to fix things – or learn to make do with an unfixable situation. But there’s that other half of the time – you might call it the borderline amazing half – when everything DOES work out – maybe even better than you had hoped for. The wrong decision becomes the right decision, and all because you made it so.

When the article came out I was not ridiculed by my friends, family and co-workers (well – ok, there was a little ridiculing, but all in fun). I did not lose my job (that day.) No one handcuffed me and drove me to rehab. I was not forced  to wear a scarlet “U” for “Undateable”.  In fact, I got quite a few calls after that – and I’m positive that it had nothing to do with the fact that I’m forever on-record as the cheapest date ever.

The way I see it, life comes down to one big decision – you live it – recklessly, in a grand splendor of messiness, mistakes, disasters and complication – or you don’t.  And in that case, have fun with that stick up your ass – that guy from Vegas said it feels good after awhile.

And that’s why deciding to go for it and live may be the one good decision I’ve ever made. No matter what my dates have to say about it. And if it means I do something like incidentally puke on your shoe – or unknowingly get you in trouble with your boss – or get us all into a situation where we have to figure out how to escape from the trunk of an ’89 LeBaron using only a cardboard nail file and a piece of old gum  – well, then I apologize. But take it back? No sir, that I will not do. Though a good outcome is extremely, extremely unlikely…who’s to say where that LeBaron is headed my friends…*

(*and if you just said Tijuana…you’re probably right.)

Bad Decision…

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