Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll espies MORE BAD IDEAS (and One Good One). She writes:

Hoo Boy, is the electorate in a cranky mood! Primary voters from both parties seem to be saying, “No! You Democrats will NOT tell me which protected grievance monger will be inevitable. And you Republicans will not choose which spineless patsy will be unable to criticize her and lay down and lose as planned. This may turn out to be a Smart Idea or a Bad Idea. It remains to be seen. So today I will offer up a non-political thought or two.

We all do dumb things. Most of them are small mistakes from which we can recover. I have referenced in the past, holding a blender pitcher with the bottom off under the faucet such that it formed a perfect funnel and soaked my shirt. On more than one occasion. Embarrassing, yes, even if nobody else is around. But hardly fatal.

On the other hand, there may come a time when you too are forced to ask yourself: “Was eating a bowl of something called ‘Nuclear’ Chili, and a piece of very rich Heath Bar Pie a good idea?” Even allowing the excuse of having recently consumed an adult beverage or two with the sophomoric name “Screaming Orgasm,” this was a bad idea. Well, short on the “Orgasms” but they got the “Screaming” part right. Thanks to the delicate yet volatile nature of my organs that are collectively called The G.I. Tract.

And while we are on the subject of tracts, and moving along briskly from the previous tract, was it a good idea to make eye contact with the disheveled young man handing out religious brochures in downtown Minneapolis last fall? No, it was a bad idea. Mr. AG, a former Chicagoan, has spent many decades trying to teach me the proper demeanor for riding a subway or walking city streets.

Eyes forward, kind of out of focus; shoulders squared, very brisk pace if walking. Make NO EYE CONTACT, even if a wino throws up on your shoes!

These were hard lessons to absorb for a naturally gregarious, small-town person whose mother cannot leave a restaurant, sanctuary or shopping mall without greeting every single human being, including a few mannequins.

Thus did I smile and make that forbidden eye contact and waste nearly half an hour of my life trying not to appear either the dreaded Minnesota Un-Nice, or worse yet, Racist.

(Parenthetically, my general attitude toward panhandlers is pretty much the same as my attitude toward politicians: “Just don’t lie to me.” I have given money to a bleary-eyed but honest gentleman who said, “Could you possibly give me a dollar to buy a drink?” But, don’t come at me with some bullcrap story about needing money to get your car which just broke down on your way to a job interview. Or money for baby formula. Because I do not care to be played for a sucker and to have you think you have fooled me.)

But back on topic: Was it a good idea to “window shop” last week in joyous celebration of the fact that all of my credit cards were cleared? No. Another bad idea. I bought several things, none of them windows. But who could resist a church-key style bottle opener, which is also a magnet, with the AZ Cardinals logo on it? Or the 300th set of colorful placemats? Or the salt shaker with the exotic pink “Himalayan” salt? All items which would qualify for the “Beyond” part of Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Was it a good idea to start another diet the week before joining Mr. AG on a business trip in a restaurant-rich city? No. It was a dumb idea, doomed to immediate failure.

But, it worked out happily because we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the day we met as teenagers.

There are so many ways to almost ensure a life of misery: substance abuse, engaging in criminal behavior, failing to prepare for any kind of work. But Mr. AG and I have come to believe that THE most important decision you will ever make is not what school you pick, or what career you prepare for, but what life partner you choose. Some people do at least get it right after a practice run or two. We were just plain lucky right out of the box. And that, my friends, turned out to be a very good idea.