Monday, October 11, 2010

Get Over Yourself.

(This is not an octopus.)

It pains me to admit it, but I've been wrong about some stuff lately.

For one thing, octopus have three hearts. Two hearts exist for the pumping of blood through each set of gills, and the third is for the rest of the octopus body. They work in concert with one another to get blood pumping through what is actually a fairly complex, and frighteningly intelligent animal. That appears to be a sack of Jell-O with snake arms.

I was convinced that the octopus is the only animal in the kingdom with triple hearts.


As it turns out.......I was wrong.

It was a crushing defeat; one I handled with neither grace nor dignity. I stomped my foot. I pounded my fist. I downed another beer. I stated my point, over and over again.

I'm pretty sure Apple should market a series of commercials about the fact that, in the digital age, most people are less than 15 seconds away from proving you wrong. A few buttons pushed (most of them mine,) a link up to some distant satellite, and BOOM--I'm wrong. Dead wrong.

Octopii do have 3 hearts. So do squid, cuttlefish, and nautiluses. All of which are counted as separate- but equally triple hearted- creatures.

I was wrong.

Swallowing your pride is not something that has ever come easily to me. Admitting wrong and accepting blame are so incredibly hard. It took me years upon years upon years just to say that maybe, perhaps, quite possibly, I am not a victim. Maybe sometimes I make decisions that are....less than wise.

The fact is that I usually assume that most decisions I make are stupid and fraught with failure. I am my harshest critic, as I'm sure most people are for themselves. I just don't always publicly admit this. I'll sling a whole lot of blame around before I'll realize that pointing a finger means at least three are pointed back at you. I had a high school teacher fond of that expression. I found that it also applies to more rude hand gestures as well.

The thing is- sometimes you have to take a huge step back when a situation is feeling fraught and you're feeling cornered. You have to take a step back, breathe, and before you begin listing faults and blame-gaming all over the place, you should probably first stake out what the caliber of ground is you're standing on. Because, 9 times out of 10, there's a good chance that ground is shifting depending on who's defining it.

That's not to say that I'm wrong all of the time. It's just that I somehow developed some sort of indefatigable self-righteousness somewhere along the line, believing I had it all figured out and that I had somehow risen to some enlightenment that perhaps other people hadn't quite reached yet. And the universe has a way of knocking you down a few pegs when this happens.

I think one of the hardest lessons to "embrace with grace" is how to accept responsibility, to figure out what you did wrong, and how, and why, and then figure out how to salvage the pieces and move on from there. It's not a pretty process. In fact, it can be downright humiliating, upsetting, and earth shattering.

But it's important. Because when you find yourself making the same mistakes again and again, sooner or later you have to come to terms with the idea that perhaps you should change up your game plan a little bit.

I was wrong about the octopus. Thankfully I hadn't staked any money on that one. But there are certain things in my life that I do put a lot of stake in, and I don't want to come up short. Stepping back, admitting blame, and uttering a well-timed mea culpa is possibly the only antidote to ultimate failure. know. I'm sorry. For the whole octopus thing. I was wrong. I should have fact-checked before I went spewing my inconclusive knowledge of the phyla Cephalopod. Only I don't think Cephalopods are a phyla. They're a class. And the difference between a class and a phyla is....I have no freaking clue. I was a dual Mass Comm/Theater major who squeaked through Bio 101.

Not that I'm making excuses.


Michaeil said...

RS Peters once wrote that unless ye are working on setting yerself free from yer ignorance, prejudice and preconceived ideas then ye don't have a hope in hell of helping others[btw he wrote it in english].....someone should invent a toothpaste with that flavor:-)

The New Glitterati said...