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Gary Smith: Awash in stupid behaviors

Why does everyone want to think before leap?

The other day, I was thinking about the dumb stuff I do.

A note of clarification here: I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that I typically don't contemplate the dumb stuff I do while I'm relaxing on the sofa, staring out the window.

I mean, I can be fairly introspective. But it's sort of unlikely that, out of the clear blue, I'm going to start evaluating whether the time I drove into the garage with the standing (at least until I got through the doorway) mirror in the back of a pickup or when I set the backyard on fire with sparklers one New Year's Eve are the most idiotic things I've done.

By the way, the answer, according to the Lovely Mrs. Smith is, "no, you've actually done a lot dumber things. God help us." It's always good to have an impartial judge around.

Like most of us, I tend to run toward stupid act evaluation while I'm actually in the middle of a stupid act. And, generally, the stupid act I'm evaluating is the one in which I'm currently engaged. I like to think of that as having laser-like focus. The "impartial judge" has determined it's more of an amazing grasp of the obvious. Harsh, but, perhaps, accurate.

So, the dumb thing I was doing the other day was driving a small, not particularly powerful convertible through rushing water on the road to my neighborhood.

Another, not-in-the-least-way-kidding note of clarification here: Don't do that. It has had tragic consequences all across our area and probably isn't anywhere near as necessary as you think it is. If you're seeing water with white caps across the road, it's likely a good time to head for higher ground. Or a sports bar. Preferably at the same time.

But, despite semi-heavy investment from the government entity that maintains the lane-and-three-quarters-wide stretch of asphalt that takes me home and to Walmart (basically, the only two places I go), my road floods at a heavy dew.

At some point we're going to give up repairing the potholes and throw our name in the hat for surfing competitions. We're going to bypass "men at work" signs in favor of small craft warnings.

I know this. I've lived here long enough, seen it rain hard enough and been through all this often enough to be aware that my road floods. And yet ...

At some point during a reasonably heavy rain, I'm going to be presented with an opportunity to show how I've finally learned my lesson and have selected a route that doesn't involve the phrase "up periscope!"

That's what I tell myself, anyway. Generally right before I go off the deep end of what used to be a location with, basically, no deep end.

Now, if you were to ask me why I'm doing it, even at the moment I'm doing it, the best I'm going to come up with is some variation on the theme of, "it seemed like a good idea at the time." Which is, basically, an insanity plea with no diagnosis.

And if it makes you feel any better, I can usually determine with a great degree of certainty, exactly when it dawns on me that the whole "seems like a good idea at the time" deal was a massive oversell. That time is usually when the water starts showing up on the floorboards and the auto starts showing an alarming interest in going, literally, sideways.

Now the moral of this story is that, at various times during the day, life presents us with opportunities to do the smart thing versus whatever it is we're either doing or are about to do. If we use our heads, we'll make the right decision and all this will be fairly benign.

If not, well, chances are we'll have an interesting story to tell. Repeatedly.

Thanks to dumb luck and a degree of acceleration I didn't really think possible in the car I drive, I made it through without having the day turn into a Sea World adventure. And I like to think I've emerged wiser for the experience. Or at least wise enough to know not to drive into swirling water just because it's not really supposed to there. It's definitely a sign I'm less prone to doing dumb stuff.

And that I can fully turn my attention to replacing this hanging light while standing on a pile of books and not throwing the breaker switch. I mean, think of the time I'll save!

Commentary on 05/19/2017

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