Thursday, May 17, 2012

Moving on, Mr. John

If Harry from the movie When Harry Met Sally is to be believed, we all have a dark side.

Harry’s dark side was reading the last page of every book he started, just in case he died before he finished it.

“That, my friend, is a dark side,” he said.

Mine was, and I’m afraid still is, is thinking at the end of every day about the STUPIDIST thing I did that day and wishing I could go back in time to change it.

What a waste of time, right??

I mean, here I am not only spending time a.) identifying the DUMBEST thing I did each day but b.) harping on it, wishing I could change it, when I can’t???

Seriously, when I was little, I used to have a DIARY that did not discuss my crushes or my hopes and dreams, it listed the ONE thing I wish I could have changed about my actions each day.

“Should not have passed that note in class. Got detention.”

“Should not have told Erin that I liked Adam. She told him. Now I’m embarrassed.”

“Should not have changed my scantron answer for question number 4 on the test. My first guess was right. Now I have a C and not a B. Dummy. ”

I don’t know why or how I developed this internal bashing, this idea that every single person did every single thing right except ME and, as such, MY dumbass-ery should be documented.

It’s not like identifying the dumbest thing I did each day gave me peace about it or anything. It just ruined things.

Clouding great memories of parties, birthdays and dates were flashbacks of the one thing I did that was “stupid.”

Yes, I have routinely told myself to stop it, but there I was, YESTERDAY, complaining on the phone to my twin sister, Joy, about how I WISH I COULD HAVE GONE BACK IN TIME and picked a different bar trivia question because ONE of the questions I picked was worded wrong and people got pissed.


Forget the fact that more than 130 people came to the bar where I was hosting bar trivia (and having a good time no less) nooooooo, I decided to focus on the five minutes of the night that sucked.

Dark sides.

I’ve been trying to change this for years.

I do this by trying to “channel” friends who maintain positive attitudes in life.

Currently, I have four friends in rotation that a regularly channel, friends whose attitude and outlook I admire and try and emulate.

Most regularly, I try and channel my best friend, Meredith.

I envy Meredith’s life attitude. Her brain makes me jealous.

A confident, peace-of-mind attitude, wholeheartedly accepting that there are some things you can control, some that you can’t, learn what you can and move on.

It’s not that she’s not sympathetic to my insecurities – no, that I require in all my friends - but when I’m particularly wallowy about something that is out of my control, Meredith has a way of bringing me back to reality, giving me an inspiring, “nothing you can do about it” speech and not entertain my whining anymore.

Good for her.
I hope to be like that one day.

I didn’t realize how important this attitude was until last December, when Meredith’s dad was suddenly diagnosed with an unbeatable cancer.
He passed away two weeks ago.

My twin sister, Joy, and I were friends with the whole family and with Mr. John, whose positive attitude I admired as much as Meredith’s. What a great thing to pass along to an offspring.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, he didn’t wallow, at least not outwardly.

The times I spent with him in those five months, he wasn't spending his last days writing down all the "stupid" things he did each day.

No. He spoke of plans to get a tattoo of a bio-hazard symbol on his body. (haha)

That’s not to say that behind closed (hospital) doors, he, and Meredith for that matter, didn’t break down. But it wouldn’t have been a wallowing that would have been typical of ME if I were in that situation.


So for the past five months, I have quietly been taking Mr. John’s positive energy and channeling him when I’d freak out.

I’d think about him when I’d start to subconsciously identify the moment of the day where I looked like the biggest moron.

Mr. John would never do that! I reasoned. (He also would never have endorsed me doing that.)

He probably would have laughed at the dumb trivia question.

He would have found it hilarious that I called someone at work by the wrong name in front of everyone.

Or that time I got into a massive coughing fit during a 20-minute presentation in a college class and had no choice but to take a sip of the TAB cola on the professor’s desk.


They say with death brings new life. And that will certainly be the (figurative) case with me.

Because I will now channel Mr. John’s attitude going forward. No more lists!
No more harping when I accidentally put my foot in my mouth!!

I like to think this will be my way of remembering him, and I’m going to do my best to uphold it. 
I wish I could thank him in person for this new leaf.

Because life isn’t as fun when you spend time thinking about things you can’t change.

You can’t change life’s wrenches. You can’t change timing. You can’t change how people react to things you do and say.

So: I will NOT list, “posting this blog that exposes my craziness to the world,” as the dumbest thing I did today.

Because that list doesn’t exist anymore.

Moving forward.



  1. I'm also totally guilty of lying awake thinking of the embarrassing things I'd done that day. It'll eat away at me while I stare at the ceiling in the dark. So I started doing this thing where I'm all, "Okay, replay the whole thing in your head one more time, and then you're not allowed to think of it ever again." That usually works.

    I'm sorry for you and Meridith's loss, but it's so nice that he'll still be with you in this new way!

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