Sunday, November 21, 2010

If "ifs & butts" were candies & nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas!

Installment 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

   Try as I might not to, I do have regrets in my life. I think we all do. It is a rather human thing. There are many things I wish had gone differently in my life. I think the one thing I wish I hadn't done though is trading in my 1990 Ford Festiva for a 1992 Ford Escort LX. I know this seems like a stupid thing to be someone's biggest regret. It is not because I am a petty man more interested in cars & possessions than anything else. Rather it is because there was a LONG chain of events that happened after that in my life that I am to this day trying to recover from. I am not saying that everything that has gone wrong in my life since then is because of that one event. But I think things would have gone much differently if it hadn't happened. My Escort's clutch went out a year after I bought it. This caused me to lose my pizza delivery job I fell back on when my taxi driving job fell through. Which was while I was living with a friend after my first ex threw me out to move to Canada and marry the guy she had known for a week. Which in turn started a chain of events that all would have been different had that alternate time line not been started. In addition my car payments on the Escort were higher. I might have had the Festiva paid off by the time the Escort's clutch went out. Which would have made my finances vastly different even with losing a job. There is not much if anything that has happened in my life since that event that I am happy about. Nothing I would be sad to give up for a chance to go back and try to change things. Yes there were happy times thrown in along the way but in the end even the happy times turned out bad. Actually I take that back there was one bright shining point during this time of darkness, my best friend Melody. I actually went to high school with her but I did not know her personally then, even though we were in the same school sponsored lip-sync contest.  I also attended a few Live action Vampire the Masquerade games that she was also at. She was dumped by an asshole of a guy that I knew and talked to at the comic store I hung out at. But I didn't started hanging out with her and getting to know her personally until we started playing D&D together. This was about two years or so after this big event. So if having her in my life is why everything had to happen the way it did I suppose I can live with it. I love her dearly and would not want to give her up for anything. There is a pretty good chance though that we still would have become friends so I think I'd still make the gamble. The main thing that is harder to realize during the worst of our trials though is that "Everything happens for a reason.". We may not realize what that reason is at the time but in the end the universe always seems to unfold the way it should.

Installment 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.

   I wish I had finished my college education. I got accepted into the University of Tennessee at Martin as a Music Education Major. I had a comprehension package of financial aid, Including one music scholarship and one music education scholarship that covered all of my expenses except for food and books. I played the tuba and was rather brilliant at it. Within six months of starting to learn the instrument I received a number one rating at the county AND state levels of competition. This is the highest award level for those events. I was also inducted into the Junior Hall of Fame for High School Musicians in 1987. Largely because of my performance at the a fore mentioned events. I decided to go Music Education instead of Performance because it is quite hard to get a job in an orchestra as it is. Add to that the fact that you play an instrument which there is generally only one or perhaps two of in each group and it makes it even harder. Therefore it seemed the smart thing to do as I could fall back on teaching if I didn't find a spot playing professionally. I had a rather over protective mother (though she viciously denies this) and a sheltered baptist upbringing. So when I arrived at college and had no one around to tell me not to do things I went a little crazy with freedom. Because of this my academic classes suffered BADLY. I still managed to pass all my performance classes with straight As and high praises but the Ds and Fs in my academic courses were enough to pull me down. I went onto academic probation after the first semester and then got an academic suspension after my second semester. This meant that I lost all financial aid until my grades were elevated to an acceptable level for one semester. My father had left my mother a year and a half before this. He stole my college fund when he did. My mother worked (for the first time since she was a teenager) as a seamstress at a local dry cleaner just to make ends meet after the meager alimony. The child support of course ended when I turned 18 just before High School Graduation. There was no way I could afford to pay for school without financial aid. Hell I was barely able to cover food and such as it was. There were many times I went hungry for 2 or 3 days after a long stint of not returning home for more supplies & maybe a few bucks spending money. I had to drop out of the fraternity I was rushing (Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the musicians fraternity including musical greats such as Robert Shaw, Maynard Ferguson, & Doc Severinson) because I couldn't afford the dues when I was accepted for membership. So there was no way I could go back on my own. This ended my education and left me feeling utterly defeated. I haven't played the Tuba since. I haven't continued my education either. Life happens and gets in the way of plans and dreams. I wish I had continued my musical career but even more I wish I had gotten a college degree. I am seriously considering going to Culinary School once I get things a little more straightened out. Its not the same as being a musician but cooking does make me happy. Not only that but it would finally be a way of proving I am not the total failure that flunked out of college.

Ok this really should have been two posts but I am a very Yin & Yang kind of guy. I love being able to do the whole good and bad, light and dark, did and didn't thing. Thanks for stopping by to see what escaped from my brain today. Take care and have an awesome day!


  1. You know, when I was accepted to the University of Missouri in Columbia, they gave me a conditional acceptance because of my dismal math grades. So if I got below a C average, I would have lost my scholarships and would be kicked out of school.

    Fortunately, a school in St. Louis accepted me with no conditional acceptance AND gave me more scholarships.

  2. There wasn't a conditional acceptance kind of thing back then for me. That was just the way it was if you had financial aid. If you didn't pull a C average you were out. I had a 1.53 the first semester and a 1.74 for the second semester. While this was an improvement it was not enough to keep me in. Another factor in my poor performance was my course load. At the time a full time student was 12 course hours, a fully loaded schedule was 16 hours, at 20 hours you were pretty much the norm for a full time industrious freshman. I had 32 hours my first semester and 35 my second. This was because my degree took 5 years to complete unless you overloaded, and most of your was music performance stuff. Which for a talented musician is much easier than a regular academic class even though it still requires rehearsal time. The advisers for the Music Ed majors told us this and encouraged us to take at least 30 hours a semester.