Regrets? I’ve had a Few…

But then again… Screw it, I’ll mention a few for the entertainment of you, my dear readers.

I made the same mistakes any kid does, just learning how to live.  But by high school, I feel like I had my base set of morals down.  My personality was fairly set.  There are some exceptions, which resulted in some of these regrets.

I know it seems crazy that I could have ever made mistakes, given how awesome I am, and how much everybody loves me, but I assure you, even someone as near perfect as myself screwed the pooch once or twice.  (Though, thankfully, pooch-screwing is not something I’ve actually done.  That’s just wrong!)

I don’t regret much.  The things that happened made me the damn-near perfect person I am today.  It’s one of the most fascinating things about me.  

The only mistakes I’ve made that I really guess you could call regrets are the ones where I hurt someone else, or pushed away close friends, or tried to fit into the box that I knew I’d never fit into.  Anything pre-high school is off limits because kids are still trying to figure out who they are, & any hurt feelings I caused to some of the young women I dated is also off limits because that’s just part of figuring out who fits well with you.  Unless I said something horrible out of fear in which case, here is my blanket apology to all the girls I’ve loved before, who traveled in and out my door…

We’ll focus on high school, because that is where I did the majority of things I regret.  I was at the same school with most of the kids I grew up with, so I had a large group of friends.  I wasn’t exactly popular, per se, but I wasn’t an outcast either.

I was in band, but since I played drums, most people didn’t consider me a band-geek, until they saw me in my geeky uniform.  Once out of it, I was quickly forgiven.  A little secret though, is that I WAS a band geek.  My best friends were in band.  I love music, of almost any kind.  I’m still a band geek.

The drummers would practice outside the band room.  One of my friends who played alto saxophone (if I remember correctly) parked her blue Ford Escort on the curb right in front.  It was one of the most coveted spots, & she must have arrived 2 hours early everyday to get it.  Most of the curb in front of the school was red, so we’re talking prime real estate.  The car was small.  And so, thinking we were being funny, the other drummers and I would lift the car and move it.  Maybe onto the grass, maybe to another street, maybe just into the red-zone.

The first few times, she laughed after freaking out, wondering where her car was.  We’d tell her, she’d move it back, all in good fun.  Only, I guess not so much for her.  Because on about the twentieth time, she got really pissed off.  Really.  Tears, yelling, obscenities…pissed.

I was a bully, and didn’t even realize it.  I liked her, she was a friend.  I didn’t do this to feel better about myself.  I didn’t do this to hurt her.  I was just too stupid to put myself in her shoes and realize that what was fun for me, may not have been so fun for her.  I did apologize when I realized it, & stopped doing it, as well as convincing others to stop, but I still regret that.

Then there was Keith.  Keith was someone I considered a friend.  He was very small.  Skinny and short.  But he was nice and funny and hung out with my core group of friends.  So what did we do?  We picked him up and jokingly tried to put him into the school’s trash cans.  We never actually put him into one, but would always pretend to try.  He’d keep coming around to hang out with us, so once again, I thought it was all good fun.  Until it wasn’t.  One day, he had enough.  He called us all assholes.  He was shaking and crying.  I tried to apologize, but he wouldn’t let me.  I suddenly realized that he didn’t have many other friends, and tried really hard to be our friends, & that’s the only reason he kept coming around.  We were assholes, but just didn’t know it.   Keith was a strong person.  Kids shoot people today for less.

After school, I hung out with one of my best friends who lived on my street.  We had a great time, playing sports in the front yard, basketball in the backyard, singing outside in the street, and accidentally breaking a few windows.  We also picked on his sister.  A lot.  We burnt some of her Barbie dolls at the stake in the backyard.  (By that point, she was pretty much over Barbie’s, but still…kinda mean.)  She just kept on being nice though.  Eventually, we all became friends.  She became so cool we stopped seeing her as a tag-along.  She’s still one of my closer friends & like a sister to me.  But I’m still sorry for burning her dolls and making fun of her New Kids obsession.

I had my first serious girlfriend throughout most of high school.  I don’t regret that, she remains a good friend to this day.  I do regret how much I focussed on her.  I stopped hanging out with some of my friends to spend more time with her.  I also cut a lot of classes (particularly 1st & 2nd period) to spend time with her.  You think I’d regret that, but I don’t.  (Because fuck making adolescents do Math & Science before 9 am!)

I regret letting my mom talk me into staying in band after my Sophomore year.  The band director was CLEARLY done.  He checked out, with the exception of making his daughter Dum Major at one point.  I don’t regret going through his office to find the scores that proved someone else performed better in the competition for the job.  There was nothing left that I learned in the next two years, & could have done better musically by using that time to practice.

I regret staying in school as long as I did.  I dropped out & got my GED, my Junior year.  I was talked back into returning for my Senior year.  I took 8 classes a semester, to the usual 6, & picked up 4 extra credits in a self-paced alternative ed. period.  I got a 3.63 GPA.  My second semester, I talked to my Guidance Counselor, & we worked out exactly how many credits I’d need to take in order to graduate with my class.  He let me know that I would need another half-credit we didn’t account for on the day after the deadline to sign up for correspondence.  I was done.  I showed up to a class here and there to hang out with friends, but that was it.  I don’t regret that.

I regret all the bullshit, “You need to have a back-up plan.  A high school diploma is too important.” advice that I believed.  Most of the kids I went to school with don’t even know the difference between you’re & your, don’t understand the dihydrogen monoxide jokes, don’t know that Rosa Parks wasn’t just some lady tired of being forced to sit in the back of the bus, but was working with the NAACP to challenge the law and get arrested on purpose (making her much more brave).  She also wasn’t the first to do so, but was thought to be a better poster-person for the movement.  I don’t regret losing out on the piece of paper that represents my knowledge or intelligence in no way.  After all, I’m nearly perfect.

I never wanted a diploma job.  I wanted to be a musician, an artist, a writer.  If I hadn’t wasted time in school, and practiced those things when I wanted to, I probably could’ve been pretty good at them by now.

And as always, the cancer fits in here.  I can’t work in any of those diploma jobs right now anyway.  Unlike what Rand Paul says, I’m not gaming the system.  I need to stay away from people, because of my immune issues.  I can’t predict or schedule the tiny amounts of energy I could have to be productive.  I would not be allowed to take a bathroom break, for long portions of time, multiple times a day.  I wouldn’t be allowed to nap whenever I crashed.  What a waste of time.

I regret all the times since high school that I’ve told people I’m damn near perfect as a deflection of my own crippling self-doubt.

No, just kidding.  I AM damn near perfect, and so are you.  We all have some flaws, but try not to focus on those or you’ll just end up living in regret.  Regrets?  I have a few, but then again, too few not to mention.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

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