Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Life's Awkward Moments - Life is All Awkward Moments!

From the day you are born until the day you die, life is one awkward moment after another.

Many folks despair that their lives are not "perfect" like other people's.   We all worship the superstars in the world, who seem to live ideal lives.  The popular kids in High School, all wore the right clothes and said the right things.  The star of the football team, who threw a 100-yard pass to make a touchdown and win the State Championship. In college, it is the same thing - the frat boys who inexplicably can afford brand-new cars, or the popular Sorority girls in their designer duds.  At work, it is the superstar young hot-shot, on his way to the top.  Or in world of entertainment, the rock star who goes from one platinum record to the next.  Or the politician who never seems to lose an election.  From outside looking in, their lives seem perfect.

It may seem that way, but it usually isn't.  And in fact, people torture themselves because their lives don't live up to this impossible standard.

As I noted in an early posting:

We are taught from birth that our lives have a story arc: get good grades in high school, ace the SATS, get into a good school, graduate with good grades, get a good job, build a career, get married, have children, retire, play golf in Florida, then die.

Well, that "story arc" model of life is bullshit, let me tell you. Few of us actually live that way. But the story is still told, and the underlying message of it is this: If you fuck up, even once, it's all over for you, buddy! You'll be a "loser" for the rest of your life!
The reality for most all of us is just the opposite - one awkward moment after another, until the final awkward moment, death.  Think about it, how awkward is child birth?  There's your mom, strapped into the stirrups in the maternity ward, everyone staring at her private parts, waiting for you to arrive, which happens with a lot of screaming and commotion - and an awful lot of mess, to say the least.  And there you are - welcome to the world - covered with blood and amniotic fluid, red as a beet and screaming your lungs out.  Hello there, Mom!

It doesn't get much better from there.  Pooping your pamper, and maybe later on wetting your pants - or the bed.  Saying the weird awkward things that little kids say at the very wrong moments.   The silly stuff you do as a grade-schooler - that burns in your memory as an awkward moment.

Mark remembers vividly when he was just a grade-schooler, his parents ran a rest home in Westchester in an old mansion his Dad bought for cheap after the war.  The ladies there were incontinent and they gave them Stay-Free Maxipads, as I guess the "adult diaper" was still a decade away.   During a dinner party, Mark donned the empty wholesale-size box of Stay-free and then came down the stairs to the dining room, announcing, in a loud voice, "Stay-Free Maxipads!  The thin-sized feminine protection!"

Of course, his Mother turned bright red, but the rest of the guests laughed.  Kids do the darnedest things!

It doesn't get much better from there.  There is that awkward teenage phase, basically seven years of continuous awkwardness.  That awkward moment when you ask a girl out on your first date - and that awkward first kiss.

And then there is sex - nothing but awkwardness.  There is an old saying that if you are not embarrassed after having sex, you didn't do it right.

The rest of your life is one awkward moment after another.  You say the wrong thing at work, or a cocktail party.  Back in the day, you just embarrassed yourself.  Today, thanks to Social Media, you can end up losing your job or career over one awkward moment.  Your worst moment in life now defines you.   But life still goes on.

Until it doesn't.  Yes, death, the ultimate awkward moment - as messy and painful as childbirth.  As Woody Allen once said (during his pre-molestation years) "I'm not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens!"

Yet we find these awkward moments to be funny - when they happen to someone else.  Maybe because we recognize in the plight of others, our own weaknesses.  We even find death to be funny - in a dark way.  Our neighbor died mowing his lawn.  His wife thought he was taking a long time to finish the yard, and when she went out to check on him, there he was, laid out behind the mower, stone cold dead.  He died doing what he loved.   That's not funny - but it would make a good gag for a Cohen brothers movie.

So what's the point of all of this?  Not to waste your time an energy regretting these awkward moments and not to condemn others for not being perfect.   The "Superstars" we admire in this world make one mistake after another, yet we remember them for their successes, not their failures.   Abraham Lincoln, Frank Lloyd Wright - even George Washington - all fucked the pooch on occasion.  The best batters in major league baseball never broke .400 - missing the ball more than half the time they were at bat.

Life is not an optimized event - Human beings operate at an efficiency level in the low single-digits, from that I can fathom.  We waste most of our day taking care of our bodies or just screwing around doing bullshit.  Expecting perfection or efficiency in life is an unrealistic expectation.  And yet....

Yet most of us spend countless hours worrying about some awkward moment from the third grade.  Well, I guess people with a conscience do, anyway.  Maybe the sociopaths just don't give a damn.  So in a way, if you are troubled by the awkward events in your life, congratulations, you are a decent human being.

Now just stop worrying about them and move on!