Thursday, January 5, 2012

Success and Failure - 1/2/2012

This week's writing group prompt was "a moment of success or failure." I intended on writing an uplifting personal piece chronicling one of my personal triumphs. I could relate the time I the moment that I.............hmmmm.

A flurry of painful failures and disappointments filled my head. Wow, this is going to be harder than I thought. Then it came to me that failure and success are very subjective:

For someone who has attempted suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills, waking up in the morning is an epic fail. For the rest of us, it is a victory. And in my case, often a surprise.

A baseball player that fails miserably seven out of ten at bats is a candidate for the hall of fame. In most endeavors a 30 percent success rate is unacceptable. If a doctor lost 70 percent of his patients, his practice would probably suffer as a result.

A four minute mile is an achievement for a jogger. Not so much for a NASCAR driver.

Many women try for years to get pregnant and bear children. Others do it with a minimum of effort and intent. The latter is a success at procreation but a dismal failure at fertilization avoidance.

I think you can see where I am going with this. For instance, a two-year old, going poop on the potty is a cause for celebration, for a seventy year old........ OK, bad example.

Recently, on a television show called the X-Factor, a contestant was praised as a hero for going seven months without smoking crack. They raved about what an inspiration and role model he was. I have been crack free for nearly 60 years. I should get a parade, complete with Shriner clowns.

Success has many levels. A child takes his/her triumphant first step and nobody outside the immediate family gives a damn, but take one step on the moon........

I was at a Christmas Show at the Alabama Theatre and it was announced that a couple in the audience were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They attempted unsuccessfully to stand up when someone told them that their name had been called, but settled for a Royal Family type wave. There was applause and people whooped and cheered. There was probably some sad bastard or bastette in the crowd who had been married multiple times. Is that success or failure? I think anyone who finds four or five different people willing to cohabitate with them deserves some recognition. But today with same-sex marriage being in vogue, the matrimonial pool has doubled for many. Maybe it is not as difficult as it once was. And I would think that losing half your worldly goods every few years might tilt toward the failure side of the ledger.

Being elected to the office of The President of the United States seems to be a big deal. At least until after the inauguration, when the chosen one finds out what the job entails and how much bipartisan fellatio he will have to perform to get elected to a second term.

As a parent, success or failure is not immediately evident. As the child grows to adulthood, our parenting skills are revealed: Honor student - yay, professional athlete -yeah baby, champion of industry - hell yeah, serial killer - oops.

I guess my life has pretty much been absent of major highs and lows. That might not be such a bad thing.


Jeff Manes said...

Great post Rick.

True, not everyday do we wake up and feel like a champion.

Luckily, thanks to the miracle of the Internet, we can now order shirts, caps, plaques, belt buckles and damn near anything else that will tell the world we are a WINNER.

orionsbow said...

There is a lot to be said for stability whether in life or love. At my age, given the choice between high returns with equally high risk and the relative safety of mediocrity, mediocrity seems to look better all the time. You are a master with the written word and always a pleasure to read. How you get out of this endeavor without someone well connected insisting that you attempt to have something published nationally I will never understand.

Anonymous said...

Well you know I think you have had more successes than most people but I'll never convince you of that. Love ya! Carly

Roger Yale said...

Bipartisan fellatio!

Go Figure said...

MBR: There is no failure or success until Judgment Day. Until then, just keep forging ahead, remember the lessons learned in the past but don't look over your shoulder.

Chris said...