I was talking to a friend yesterday, who told me about a guy he works with. The guy's daughter took her driving test the other day. The father was sure she was going to fail, but she came bounding out of the office with a big smile and said, "I passed, and he only had to grab the steering wheel ONCE!"
She was happy. I guess it all depends on how you define success.
It reminds me of a guy I went to school with. When asked what he wanted to do with his life he said, "I want to lie in the gutter and belch all day." He was clearly saying it to be juvenile but it occurred to me that if that was truly his goal in life, he'd probably end up more successful than people who set their sights higher, and likely happier too.
If I had to pick a simple, easily achieved goal it would be this: I'd like to buy a new suit and NOT damage it the first time I wear it in public. That would make me happy.
My parents bought me a new suit for the occasion of my baptism. For those who are wondering, we don't practise infant baptism, so I was fifteen at the time. The occasion went well and afterward my Aunt Mary had arranged for us to go to dinner at La Bodega. I remember it was fancy, French and cozy. At one point I reached across the table for some reason and shortly afterward I noticed a burning smell. Turns out I had held the sleeve of my suit jacket over one of the candles just long enough to set it on fire. Brilliant.
My Aunt Mary has never taken me back to La Bodega since.
Unfortunately I was merely establishing a long tradition of suit-wrecking. I have caught my suit in a car door. I have ripped my pants pocket out after getting an armrest stuck in it. I have pulled a thread in my suit by brushing up against a brick wall. I have split my pants while bending down to pick up a penny. I have spilled paint, coffee, blood and bleach on my suit.
I'm The Suit Terminator.
Someday I'm going to buy a suit off the rack (I can't fit into off-the-rack suits) and wear it without destroying it. That's my definition of success.
Maybe I'll have a chance at happiness that way.
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