Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Do-Over

Many years ago I saw a television interview with a very, very famous man, (now passed on) summarizing events in his life.

He said something that was quite shocking i.e. he told the interviewer that he had absolutely no regrets about his life, none whatsoever.

I cannot imagine someone so senior, alive on this planet for so many decades and never having to wake up in the morning cringing upon the realization that he may misbehaved or had misplaced something during an evening of celebration (car keys, credit cards, pants). 

Didn’t he ever insult every coworker after drinking all the egg nog at the company Christmas party then pass out on the floor, sans pants, under the mistletoe.

Has he never brought a large box of vino to the family Thanksgiving gathering, began talking politics and religion only to find himself awakening in a cornfield in New Jersey?

The only reasonable explanation is that he developed some form of senior forgetfulness preventing him from reliving a regrettable past.

I was thinking about “day after regrets” after we celebrated July 4th recently, our nation’s birthday.

With all those signers of the Declaration of Independence can we not just assume that at least 1 signer would have awakened on July 5th with a “My God What Have I Done” moment.

It is actually nice not having any regrets and taking responsibility for bad behavior.  I have noticed a trend slowly changing our attitude allowing us to remove shame from our personal integrity.  It seems only those politicians in Asian countries now show remorse for very bad decisions in their lives. 

Newscasts always produce some political type in Japan or along the Asian ring tearfully begging forgiveness from fellow countrymen for an egregious act. We watch in anticipation to see if the anguished penitent will produce a short Hari Kari sword as restitution for what most of us would consider a minor infraction by today’s standards.

He should come to America. Not only could he teach us something about personal integrity, he would be such a political oddity that we’d create a TV reality show for him.

Actually now Americans have ramped-up something called a “do-over”. We also have embraced another term called “going forward”.  Both are cleverly designed to eliminate any discomfort for being such a screw up.

Politicians and their handlers are majestic in the way they turn their bad behaviors away from scorn and ridicule to a public just waiting to embrace and cuddle them like a hurt child for doing something wrong. After all don’t we all make mistakes? We can’t be too harsh or judgmental.  Everyone gets a second chance, a do over so that going forward they know the error of their ways and can avoid future pitfalls.

This always seems to work when your party favorite is the bad dog.

The opposition wants to whack your nose with the newspaper and banish you to the doghouse.

I know a man, we call him “do-over Bob”, one of the most intelligent, creative souls on this planet.  Self-taught he is just about the best printer, graphic artist and computer whiz I have ever known. He is instantly like by almost everyone he meets but he has one major flaw that always caused a problem for him in his print business; he could not proofread causing far too many flyers, forms, letterheads and envelopes to be tossed into the trash bin at a financial loss for him.

No one ever said “that’s Ok, I’ll accept this garbage and send it along to my customers so I can look un-professional”. No Bob accepted responsibility and reran the job to the customer’s satisfaction, and to his financial loss.

I recall my first financial loss. As an 11 year-old growing up in Philly we had something that arrived in corner stores each summer, the “pimple ball”.  It was a white hollow rubber ball with raised bumps thus the name “pimple”.

Before the air was finally extinguished we played street games like stickball, wall ball, wireball, boxball, handball, curbball and step ball.  When the bounce finally left we cut it in half and played half-ball using your mother’s broom stick.

One summer day I was practicing my step ball skills on Mrs. Cumberland’s steps.  After I had broken her window my parents, and Mrs. Cumberland, were both curious as to why I decided not to practice on home turf, traveling halfway up the block to the home of a neighbor I hardly knew.

I didn’t get a “do-over”.  There was no “that’s alright, you learned a lesson now going forward……”.

I got punished for being such a lunkhead, banished to my room and made to make restitution.

It is now time to implement similar practices to our elected officials if there is ever any hope for real progress.

I don’t suggest the severe measures taken by our friends in the Far East, but maybe we could send our Senators, Congressmen and Commander-in-Chief to their rooms until suitable corrective measures can be taken.

We will get to say things like “Go to the Lincoln bedroom, Mr. President and think about what you have done.  No golf for you”!

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