There's a meme floating around Facebook to the effect of the Top 5 Regrets People Make on their Deathbed. It's written by a hospice nurse and it has all the standard cliches you might expect: I wish I were true to myself, I wish I didn't work so hard, I wish I let myself be happier, blah, blah, blah.
I'm sure when I'm looking at my last few breaths of oxygen I'll make a quick inventory of my top 5 regrets. But as you might expect they won't have any resemblance to the boilerplate version seen on Facebook.
1. I wish I'd bought a house on a mountaintop. As I've made clear on previous posts, people are hell. The only thing worse than other people are other people who choose to live near me. Neighbors. Not all neighbors, after all some of my neighbors actually read this blog. Just the ones who operate power equipment at odd hours of the night. Or neighbors who decide to turn their backyards into outdoor movie theaters. If I had purchased a house high above the bluffs of Malibu, I wouldn't have to deal with any of the accoutrement that comes with city living. My only concern would have been keeping the coyotes from snatching up one of my daughters from the backyard.
2. I wish I had taken up a musical instrument. Lately I've been watching David Simon's Treme on HBO. If you haven't seen it, you should. The narrative of New Orlean's is tied to the making of music. Blues, funk, bounce, jazz, it's all there. And every time I watch the show I wish I had been blessed with the ability to make music. You might think it's never too late to start taking lessons, but indeed it is. I would never be able to master an instrument as I have all the rhythm and coordination of a drunk epileptic stepping off the Tilt-A-Whirl.
3. I wish I had discovered Bosley Hair Treatment for Men earlier. I knew, from a very early age, that I was going to be bald like my father and his father. So when my hair started thinning, I should have beelined it to the nearest pharmacy for some minoxidol. Or invested in hair plugs. Or any number of expensive treatments to maintain my fading hirsuteness. I've been to the websites. And I've seen men who now "run, swim and ride horses with complete confidence." Sadly, I will not be one of those men. I've been buzzcutting my hair for close to ten years now. Friends, family, co-workers know me as a bald man. I think if I were to visit Bosley on a Friday afternoon and come into to work Monday morning with a full head of wavy locks, it would raise some suspicion.
4. I wish I had learned about the beauty of rechargable batteries.
About a year ago I bought one of these rechargeable battery thingamajigs. Yes it was pricey. But considering the number of devices in my house including remote controls, wireless keyboards, mice, flashlights, and ear hair clippers, it has paid for itself many times over. Now when batteries run out I simply swap them out with the live ones in the recharger. It's almost as if I'm saying, "screw you behemoth battery company and your overpriced batteries." Of course now my electricity bills are through the roof. I might have to rethink this one.
5. I regret that I never worked hard enough. This may seem counter-intuitive but it's not. Yes, I've achieved a modicum of success in my chosen field. And no one would ever accuse me of having a poor work ethic or not delivering. But the truth is, it has all come a little too easily. You get a strategy to advertise some juicy burgers and the next thing you know you're sitting in a room with an art director saying something like, "juicy, loosy, goosy." And from that some stupid commercial is born.
The truth is, I could have worked harder. And should have worked harder. Not at advertising. Or even writing smart ass books, movies and tv shows. I should've worked harder in high school. And in college. I should have gone to post graduate school and become a doctor. Or an engineer. Or a lawyer. I should have done something more useful with my life. More useful and more lucrative.
At least something more lucrative than publishing a blog.