This is my weekly column and I am just too lazy to change up the local stuff for a wider audience–so bear with me:
“Philip Roth wrote that getting it wrong is what makes us human.”
Celebrating the milestones of our lives is relatively easy. We raise a glass, make a toast, don a graduation gown, drape ourselves in wedding garb, blow out candles, have baby showers, decorate a Christmas tree, hide Easter eggs, devour turkey at Thanksgiving, carve a pumpkin…the list has no end. But Jonathan Goldstein of CBC Radio and National Post fame believes we should start celebrating our blunders instead as they are the things that make up our real milestones and form a life.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to want to bury my blunders, or what Goldstein more elegantly refers to as our “wrong words and gestures”. He lists some of his blunders as wearing “a jean vest over a jean shirt to an engagement party; sitting down in a plate of lasagna at a wake”; and, arguing “vociferously with a girlfriend’s computer engineer brother about how the Internet was a passing fad that would soon go the way of the pet rock.” Who knew that the Internet would have the life span and flexibility of a chia pet (the latest incarnation of which is one of the Duck Dynasty guys–the plant part forming his beard)?
We all have a plethora of blunders in the rucksack we call life. Why, if I counted the number of blunders I have made in this column alone I would need more than all my fingers and toes to tally them—but making mistakes is one of the risk we have to take in this life. Sometimes putting it out there results in a little misspelling (despite spellcheck), misuse, and/or mischaracterization. I still blush at a few of the mistakes I have made, but am not made of stern enough stuff to recount the worst here for you, but I will share a few that are not too ego-deflating:
1. Last week I said that I was at the tale end of a generation when I am really at the “tail” end.
2. Per se is not spelled per say. I wish the friend who pointed that out had pointed it out sooner.
3. Ron Dimenna is not the same person as Ron Colasanti. One is a past councillor from Gosfield South from the days of my more youthful reportage and one is a present day councillor. I believe that I mixed up these two years ago (in the early 80’s, then made the opposite mistake just last year). The mistaken identity crisis did not happen in this column but in a neighbouring article or two under my guise as L.G. Karry.
Those are the three that come most recently to mind, and as milestone blunders they do not appear to be significant (okay mixing up people is kind of serious) but they make one more aware of one’s foibles and though I am positive I will make more blunders in the future they will be more “mindful” blunders. Yes you can lol at this.
I have made many a life blunder that I now wonder if it was not kismet at work. I missed an important job interview in Windsor when I was in university and could be a well-known radio personality now—but that would have meant I would not have moved back to Kingsville, met my husband, had my wonderful sons, and worked at this respected weekly rag. So while it may have been a blunder, all worked out to my advantage in the end. This blunder was a milestone that has marked my life, set my path, but not necessarily in stone–there is still that fork in the road and I do not discount taking the one “less travelled” in the future.
Goldstein quotes Michael Chabon as saying “the blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made.” Chabon was referring to the challenge that is the game of chess, but Goldstein believes that “he might just as well have been referring to life.” He refers to blunders as “so tantalizing and ripe for the plucking that we cannot resist them.” Sometimes getting it wrong, gaffes and goofs turn out to be life changers. And sometimes they are just embarrassing.