Writer’s Workshop: Mistaken

There was once a man who always made the wrong choices. He chose the wrong university to go to, the wrong major, met and married the wrong woman, took the wrong job… pretty much everything he chose was the wrong thing. Finally, he decides to reboot his life, to get on a ship and sail off to a place where he could start again, this time making the right choices.

Needless to say, he chose the wrong ship to get on, and halfway across the ocean a terrible storm blew in. The ship was tossed from side to side, each time taking on more water, and the man knew the ship was going to capsize. Desperately, he cries out, “Saint Francis, save me!”

And a voice came from heaven…

“St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Francis Xavier?”

(Many thanks to Dave Allen for that joke.)

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. I’m not sure they (whoever they are) are right. I mean, 20/20 would mean you could see everything perfectly, and when it comes to looking back, I doubt that’s possible.

I mean, if you look at your situation when you were eighteen when you’re sixty, you tend to forget that you’ve had 42 years to think about it. That’s 42 years of experience you didn’t have at eighteen. You see it through the eyes of a sixty-year-old person. You didn’t have that perspective at eighteen, or 22, or 35, or 45, or whenever. There’s that whole “live and learn” thing, something you usually think of after you’ve screwed up. It’s like Vern Law once said, life is a cruel teacher, giving the exam before teaching the lesson.

Since my stroke almost ten years ago, I’ve spent a lot of time looking back, identifying things I now know were bad moves, but which seemed like a good idea at the time. I don’t know why I bother; there ain’t nothing I can do about any of it now. What’s the point?

Recently I saw a video that offered seven mysteries of existence. Real heady stuff. One of the mysteries says that there exist an infinite number of parallel universes, in which there might be a very slight difference from the one we’re living in now. I’d like to think that I got those things right in at least one of those universes.

Another proposition is that our universe is a plaything for someone else, and that person spends his lunch hour screwing with us. If I ever find that person, he’s getting a knee in the groin. On the other hand, maybe it’s like the end of St. Elsewhere. Remember that last scene?

So maybe our universe is under the control of an autistic boy, who spends hours staring into a snowglobe, deep in his own world. Or maybe it’s more like this alternate explanation for the TV show Friends.

But what do I know? I’m probably mistaken.

Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

10 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Mistaken”

  1. St. Elsewhere! I used to watch that show when I was a kid with my parents. I am sure that it wasn’t really child appropriate but they let me because I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up and maybe that’s why I actually did become a nurse – who knows. They also let me watch M.A.S.H. I had weird parents. Life works in mysterious ways…
    I too think about all the little things that I did wrong and how they impacted my course. It’s the stuff that keeps me up at night sometimes.


    1. I think I saw the first episode of St. Elsewhere and the last, but that last scene sticks in my head.

      It used to keep me up at night, but now I realize that even if I could go back and change everything, I wouldn’t want to. It’d be like Da Vinci going back and painting a different face on the Mona Lisa. I find I’m happier that way.


  2. As always, excellent post, John!

    Oh, the wisdom we all possess at this stage of life, or at least think we do.

    Youth is definitely wasted on the young, according to either George Bernard Shaw or…possibly (not verified) Oscar Wilde. Gave them both credit because, after all, I don’t want to be…mistaken.


  3. Your post made me do all kinds of research into that last scene on St. Elsewhere – ha!

    Cool thoughts… The last year of my life has made me have several like this as well.


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