I have a standing request with my wife that if I do something idiotic, I’d rather everyone know, immediately. Whether I’ve downed six beers and driven my car through the window of a convenience store while not wearing pants, accidentally shot my big toe with a revolver, or erroneously voted for a Republican, I’d rather the information be shouted from the rooftops than whispered in secrecy. If any of my idiocy results in my untimely demise, put it on social media, with pictures. People need visuals to admire while their eyes go wide in surprise, especially if I’m wearing clown shoes and holding a can of Schlitz as I lie in a pile of broken glass and covered in frozen, individually packaged frozen burritos. (Yes, that is an awfully specific scenario, isn’t it?)
Likewise, when I keel over from a massive coronary event, I don’t ask that people say only good things about me in public and whisper, “What a jerk that guy was” in private. Go ahead and load up the insult cannon and fire away. If you know me well, you have permission to share the stupid things I’ve said and done. The truth doesn’t get cremated simply because the sand ran out in my hourglass. If someone asks what killed me, it’s okay to answer, “Definitely pizza and Mexican food.” We all know it won’t be a jealous husband or from jogging too far on a sunny Saturday morning.
If I permit you or don’t, the truth is that you’re going to say those things anyway. You might carefully curate who you say them to, but they’ll come out in small bursts of sharing. It’s what we all do. I ask that you at least be creative. Don’t say, “Man, he could be a real a%%.” Instead say, “Did you know that Preparation H once considered using him as their spokesperson due to his familiarity with the subject matter?” That’s the kind of joyous snark that’s worthy of a person’s life.
No matter how good of a person you are, people have commentary about you, your life, and choices. All of us are misunderstood, and each person in our circle has a different idea in their heads about who we are. We often forget that much of our lives isn’t a result of conscious choice; rather, we’ve careened along in life and allowed circumstance, luck, and chance to shape the sum of our lives. That might be comforting, but it is a conclusion with merit.
Along the same lines, many of us have a closet full of guarded secrets. We think that we’ve managed to conceal them from the world. We may have succeeded to a degree, but people likely know. They might snicker, judge, or even revel at those things. It’s better to stop guarding them and move past them as quickly as possible. We’ve all done some bone-headed things. (Except maybe Josh, but we’ll leave him out of this.)
I would write more, but I have to go pick up my clown shoes from the Novelty Shop.
If I see you drive through any windows, I’ll stop and take some fantastic pictures of you lying there. They don’t call it ‘social’ for no reason.