Thursday started off well. It was S.T.A.N.D.’s big demonstration against the Sudan massacres, which most Americans don’t know about because they’re not taking place in Iraq. We had a great turnout (about 150 according to the Press of Atlantic City), plenty of media coverage, and a genuine impact on the people.
(Good job, everybody. Keep fighting the good fight.)
Since then, nothing has gone particularly well.
In my political methodology class a few hours later, I got my assignment for Thanksgiving break: 236 pages and teaching myself a statistics program.
As I was leaving school, I discovered that my van had sunk into the mud.
On Friday morning, I chopped my middle finger open in my print media class. It was right on the knuckle, and it stung every time I moved it.
This didn’t bother me for very long at all, because about a half hour later I drove a piece of metal through the side of my pinkie all the way down to the bone. It just looked like a little cut at first glance, and it was more shocking than it was painful, so I figured I’d just rinse it out, get another band-aid or two, and keep working. As I started walking over to the sink the blood started flowing. It was bleeding a lot more than I thought it should have, so I flexed it and looked a little closer and realized I had damn near split my finger in half. The school medics wrapped me up, then I drove myself to the hospital to have it cleaned, stitched, and taped back together.
It has to be held in place with a splint because too much movement at the joints before its healed will cause it to tear itself apart again. I have to keep it elevated, which means I either hold it up and look like a gimpy version of Dr. Evil, or keep it over my chest and look like I’m reaching for a concealed gun. I’m not supposed to use my left hand much, because your pinkie will reflexively move in accordance with your other fingers. The virtual loss of my left hand means that I’ll most likely have to take an Incomplete for my print class and try again next semester. It also means I’m not driving down to DC this weekend like I’d hoped to. And, of course, typing with a big metal splint is a bitch. I also have to take a bunch of pills. I hate popping pills. Especially since they don’t stop it from hurting.
I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.
These things, however, are just inconveniences. I don’t feel too bad about them, because they don’t have much to do with me; its all just dumb luck. Aside from the nagging pain in my finger, there’s not much I should really feel bad about.
But the ruinous aspect of Fate does not give up so easily…
I had bought myself a little present to keep myself in a good mood, but it seems that this innocent act would prove to be a terrible sucker punch. It would hit me where it hurts most, too – right in the pride.
Life is a long lesson in humility.
-James M. Barrie
(Speaking of whom, Finding Neverland, although a shameless ball of cheese, was worth seeing.)
Despite Dr. Yitzhak Sharon’s constant praise of my expertise in the field of physics, my true forté is the mechanics and history of the Sixth World. All those who question my mastery soon find themselves…
Well, we won’t talk about that.
Your ineptitude is ruining the game for everybody.
-Kyle “Beans” Whittaker, summer 2004
STUDENT FOUND MURDERED: POLICE REPORT NO LEADS IN GRIZZLY MUTILATION OF KYLE “BEANS” WHITTAKER
-headline in GW Hatchet (George Washington University newspaper), early November 2004
Anyway, I have an unshakable confidence in my own knowledge and ability in this narrow and totally useless field. I am the best I’ve met, and quite possibly the best there is. Sure, I may make the odd mechanical mistake, or an experiment may fail, or I might just bomb an entire session due to lack of focus, but these are all exceptions to the rule.
It is this arrogance that turned my little present to myself into such a blow to my geek ego.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with a heavy heart that I confess that I have erred. I repeatedly lied to those campaigning under me. Though it was inadvertent, I still feel as though I have slighted certain members of the team. Their passionate pleas for a mere moment of indulgence were met with nothing but intolerance and contempt.
I thought little of it until earlier today, when I was searching through my new copy of SotA 2064. In the fifth chapter, under a section titled “GENE ART” I came across the following illustration:
My sincerest apologies to Dylan and James. Yes, they do exist.
But no, you still can’t have one.
Mistakes are part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless its a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.