Top 5 stupid things I have done

We had quite a conversation around the dinner table about my "stupid things I have done" file.  There is no actual file, but there is a growing list of bad choices, moments of mental malfeasance, and brain flatulence that my wife and sons found quite amusing to review tonight.

I have no issues sharing some of them with you, if only to inspire a smile or a possible giggle.  I can sometimes be a complete idiot, and I'm OK admitting it.

5. Carbon monoxide jolt

I knew I was not well last night when I drove Dylan to his workshop at the College, but I had no idea that I probably should not have been driving.  I got home, parked the car in the garage, went in the house and off to bed.  I woke up this morning and couldn't find my keys to save my life.  I looked everywhere, but still no luck.  "Maybe I left them in the ignition," I said to myself, remembering how awful I felt the night before.  I put on my shoes, walked outside, opened the garage door and discovered that my instincts were correct.  They were in the ignition alright......with the car running.  It had been idling for over 12 hours.  You can imagine the smell, the heat and the intense level of carbon monoxide.  I'm surprised I didn't pass out.  Gosh, I felt stupid.

4. Escort on the loose

My first wife had this beige Ford Escort (were you thinking it was going to be the other kind of escort?) which was blocking the driveway.  Its battery had gone dead and for some reason I needed to get it out of the way.  It's a small car, I thought to myself.  So, I opened up the driver's side door, shifted it into neutral and started pushing it forward with my left hand while holding onto the steering wheel with my right.  It moved a few inches and then began rolling back the other way.  I did everything I could to stop it, but it was no use.  I jumped out of the way just in time and watched it roll all the way down the hill.....into my landlord's brand new car. SMASH!!!  That was a moment I wish I could have back.

3. You're supposed to be on stage!

Sheldon Dahl had a small panic moment during the run of Les Miserables when he realized that he'd had a brain fart and was in his dressing room at a moment when he was supposed to be on stage.  It was a tiny blip, that for many in the audience, probably didn't even register.  Such was not the case for me on opening night of Gigi at Castle Theatre in Saskatoon.  I was playing the male lead in the Gateway Players show and had gone down to my dressing room to change from a three-piece suit and spats into my next outfit.  I was down to my underwear when someone ran in yelling "You're supposed to be on stage!"  As the three-piece suit was intrinsic to the scene, I had to put everything back on before returning to the deck.  An amazing veteran actor named Ian C. Nelson, managed to ad lib for a full 5 minutes.  The director of the show, Russ Ramsden, was not happy with me that night.

2. From neutral to nothing

God bless my father for having the patience to teach me to drive standard.  We had one of those Ford K-Car wagons with a bench seat in the front and the long stick shift.  He decided to take me out of town to get a feel for highway driving.  "Take a right at the next crossroad," he said.  I shifted into neutral several hundred yards away, thinking that it would slow me down plenty enough to make the turn.  It did not.  We went straight into the wintery ditch and into a whole lot of snow.  We had to crawl out of the windows and walk to the nearest farm to ask for a tow.  To my dad's credit, he didn't freak out or get mad at me.  He knew that was a mistake I would never make again.  He was right.

1. Fanatical frugalism

In my first year living away from home, I took domestic matters very seriously.  My roommates, Randy and Jeff, would readily share with you their memories of that year of living together in our apartment in Lakewood in south Saskatoon.  Those remembrances might include my habit of "picking" the carpet on a weekly basis, because we were too poor to purchase a vacuum, and I was fastidious about keeping a clean pad.  As I left the apartment at Christmas break - the other two fellows had left a few days previous - I thought it would be a good idea to shut off the breaker so that we didn't run up a huge power bill over the three or four weeks we would be away for the holidays.  I was a very frugal university student. I didn't think for a half a second that the power might be connected to some rather crucial appliances. When we returned in January and opened up the fridge, the smell was unforgettable.  I was mortifyingly embarrassed, convinced I was going to have to fork out the money for a new fridge.  Randy and Jeff were very forgiving and supportive, and helped me throw away rotted meat and scrub out that fridge from top to bottom, turning a ripe mess into an enduring learning moment.

We all mess up, do things that we wish we could take back.  These are five, among many, that jump out for me.  Like I said the day I came to work wearing two different shoes: "If you can't laugh at yourself once in awhile, what's the point in living!"

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