The other day I was chatting on the phone with my friend, attempting my best to cook a healthy breakfast. As proof that I should never be trusted in the kitchen, when it was time to flip some eggs onto my plate, I picked up the pan’s handle with my left hand, and then, almost to prove the color of my hair, I stupidly placed my entire right palm on the bottom of the pan, somehow forgetting that just a millisecond prior that pan was touching a piping hot flame.
Needless to say, I burned the shit out of my hand. How? How on earth did I do that? Because I was enthralled in my conversation with my friend? (Hi Jill!) Because I thought it would take two hands to hold a pan? (It doesn’t.) Because I’m dumb? (Ummmmm…) Because of all three reasons plus something else I am forgetting? (Dingdingding!)
In half of a half of a second, I did something absolutely idiotic, and had to pay for it the rest of the day.
Now it didn’t ruin my day or anything. I didn’t have to go to the hospital or cancel plans. I just had to take lots of ibuprofen, keep it on cold compress for about six hours, and essentially perform all my tasks one handed for the remainder of the day. I now have a few blisters along my finger tips, and the skin is grossly peeling on the side.
It wasn’t a life changing injury, but I am still dealing with the residuals.
I know. This isn’t a great story. Not my best blog opener. Thanks for continuing to read anyway.
My point is, I have these long lasting stupid moment injuries more often than not. I’ve run into doorframes and dealt with weeks long leg bruises. I’ve sliced various fruits and veggies and sliced my pulse point skin right along with it to the point of scarring. (Again, don’t trust me in the kitchen.) Once I even broke a contact in my eye, only to get my eye even more irritated when I dug for the ripped piece with freshly sunscreen hands and had red eye veins clearly showcased well into the evening.
We all have these moments. I’m not special, except for maybe with the incidence’s frequency.
And even though I’m aware that I do these stupid things often, they are always entirely accidental, and thus hard to avoid. So, instead of being productive by trying to dodge stupid injuries, I find myself taking extreme stock of other stupid instances and their potentially long lasting effects. I transition from thinking about my dumb wounds to my various dumb moments. Foot in mouth things I’ve said to new acquaintances, typo’d texts I’ve sent to a person I wanted to befriend, nervous behavior I’ve tried to hide while in a new environment.
I target these snippets of dumb and find myself listing all their possible outcomes, even hypothesizing the results that are still developing.
In short, I’m constantly trying to gauge just how much I’ve screwed the pooch.
I mean, if my leg bruises have lasted for weeks, who knows what non-physical yet just as brainless things I’ve done that have left longer impressions?
This is real healthy, right? A great use of my brain space. I mean, only positive consequences will come from this mental deliberation, and my behavior will simultaneously be totally normal while I’m analyzing all of it right? RIGHT??
Wrong. I know it’s wrong. Yet I can’t help but do it.
And here I was worried I was too well adjusted to be a comedy writer.
But seriously, this is the shit that keeps me up at night. Well, that, and monster rapists.
I think it all boils down to my desire to be liked. Or, more poignantly, understood. I don’t want idiocy to be at all associated meanness or… wrongness.
As a former goody two shoes student, at some point in my youth I became obsessed with the idea being correct. There was a right way to do things, and a wrong way. Black and white. No room for error. All that good stuff. This sense, this duty of right and wrong (hehe duty) has many good side effects. I am prone to being polite, I often try to place myself in other people’s shoes, I apologize when I am wrong, and I do what is asked of me. It wasn’t until a new middle ground was slowly introduced, (the gray zone), that my brain sort of went out of whack. Eventually I had to learn that some super villains have a heart, racist and sexist morons can be elected to power, and sometimes the answer to the quiz is “d. All of the above.” These were all tough lessons for my “correctness” brain to swallow. Cut to today, and my adult vocation certainly hasn’t helped in calming it.
Because in comedy, there’s no true right or wrong.
There’s no perfect way to write a sketch, just many avenues of laughter to go down. There’s never an exact path to getting the dream Los Angeles job, just potholes to avoid. LA is a chronic limbo of self doubt: there are times to stand out, times to shut up, but when and where to do those things is always up for debate.
In essence, Hollywood is the mother of all gray zones. The right and wrong of it all is massively blurry. To sound like the logline of a southern California set coming-of-age comedy starring an 80’s teen heartthrob and a microwave from the future: Tinsel Town doesn’t come with instructions.
So where does the stupid come in to all of this? If I’m so busy trying to do the correct thing in a subjective world, is there room for absentmindedness? Is there any way I can burn my hand on a pan and not have blisters? OH THE HUMANITY HAVE I FOREVER SCREWED THIS POOCH, BABY? THE JIG IS UP, MY LIFE IS OVER.
Cue the violins.
I think there is only one solution to scrutinizing this rabbit hole of potential permanency from accidental offenses.
Forgive yourself and let it go.
I mean, it sucks but that’s all I can do, right? I’m never going to be 100% correct in a place that is constantly revising the test questions. I can’t possibly control what everyone thinks of me when I unknowingly do something wrong just like I can’t control the amount of burn marks on my hand from lamely touching a hot plate of steel.
All I can do is ice the wound, know my intentions are pure and good, and move on to the next forgetfully caused bruise. Maybe write a blog post putting it all out there just so others know, “Hey, I’m doing my best, okay? Really.” But then, really, stop with this madness, and move the fuck on already.
That, above all, is the correct thing to do.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to massively cut the back of my knee while shaving my legs too fast.
– One L
“Like yourself, you’re going to be with you for the rest of your life.” – inspirational sign off the highway.”