Gut Rumbles

April 21, 2007

Existential thinking

Originally published September 20, 2005

How many times in your life have you made a decision that didn't seem important at the time, only to look back years later and realize that the choice you made THEN affected everything you are NOW? That's a scary thing about life. You make those decisions every day and don't even know you're doing it.

In 1968, I went to a high school football game to watch the team we were going to play the next weekend. After the game, I was invited to go for a ride in a brand new Pontiac GTO with some friends from the football team. I turned the offer down because I had made a date with a girl I talked to in the stands that night. She and I went to Shoney's, ate some hot fudge cake, and then went necking.

Those boys wrecked that GTO on "Dead Man's Curve" on LaRoache Avenue and ended up with one dead and three severely injured, and the car appearing to be passed through a trash compactor.

I would have been in that car if I had said "yes" instead of "no" that night.

You never know when those choices matter, and sometimes you don't even realize that you make them. Every day, you come to crossroads in your life and you have to pick which road to take. You have no idea where that road leads, but you've got to go somewhere.

Shortly before Jennifer dropped the divorce bomb on my head, we were sitting on the back deck at the mini-farm and I expounded on this subject.

I told her that, looking back on my life, I needed to be dragged off and shot for making some poor choices at MY crossroads. I missed some really good opportunities and I took some fucked up roads.

But in the end, it all worked out, because I wouldn't be with her now if I had done anything differently. I meant what I said at the time. I loved my beautiful wife, I owned a big house, I had lots of land, I fathered a fine son and I was happy.

As things turned out, marrying Jennifer was probably the WORST mistake I ever made, but I sure didn't see it at the time. You never do, or you wouldn't make that decision.

Crossroads are tricky that way.

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