Thursday, December 20, 2012

Story of a Stupid Kel

Stop, think, and ask, so Kelly will be safe.

This catchy little saying comes from a Montessori summer camp my parents sent me to when I was somewhere between three and five. I don't remember exactly what it is that I used to do wrong at that particular summer camp, but I remember plenty of other wrongdoings. To give you an idea of what kind of kid I was and the type of thing that may have prompted those words, here's a little history: in nursery school I huffed and puffed and moaned and groaned and pulled a doll out from between my legs; in preschool, I got caught playing with my friend Timothy's penis in the bathroom; in elementary school, I got in trouble for peeing on the floor in the girls' bathroom; when I was seven or eight, I got chased around a Hari Krishna temple for making sex sounds on the intercom; and at four, when I used to get sent to the second-grade reading class and the third-grade math class, I got up and kissed all the boys often enough that my time in those classes was short lived. So even though I don't remember just what I did to make my counselor say those words so much that they're embedded in my and my mother's brains and to write them in my summer-camp photo album, I can definitely say that they weren't unwarranted. Really, it doesn't matter what I did anyway; what matters is that my impulsive actions were getting me in trouble then and that they still, in some way or another, get me in trouble now.

I don't know why I do some of the things that I do or say some of the things that I say. I only know that when I do them or say them, they seem like perfectly acceptable things at the time. From telling personal stories I shouldn't tell to giving people essays they shouldn't read to making inappropriate comments I shouldn't make, and even, yes, to writing blogs I shouldn't write, I've got impulsive action written all over me. Over the past few years, I've done more impulsive things than most people do over an entire lifetime, and for the life of me, I don't understand why.

The thing is, at the time I do whatever it is that I do, my actions seem perfectly rational. Even for a while after the fact, they continue to seem so (at least some of them) until one day--bam!--I realize that I did something stupid--something dangerous--something potentially damaging--something that could lead to destruction. And at that moment, just for a second, I lambast myself for my stupidity and swear I'll never make that same type of mistake again.

But then I do.

You'd think over the last thirty plus years I'd have learned a thing or two.


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