Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Blind Squirrel

‘Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.’

Technically it means even if people are ineffective or misguided, sometimes they can still find fortune just by being lucky.

I’ll do it one better: I’d rather be lucky than good.  Being good is for saps.*

*Sap (noun) – a foolish, gullible person who believes it’s better to be good than lucky

I’m not particularly good at anything.  I’m competent (debatable, of course) at a number of things but not proficient enough in any of them to actually consider myself good.

I’m competent at running, having been at it every day since 1978.  At one time I was competent in basketball (I once made 99 free throws in a row trying out for my high school team although the coach only saw me shoot the one I missed—the first of said 100) and golf (I had a one handicap when I was 17 but got kicked off the high school team my senior year because my hair was too long).  I’m competent at drinking beer (although three decades ago I was darn near professional).  I can write my way out of a paper bag (arguable, although I do have my own author page on Amazon so that has to account for something).  I can still do math problems in my head (just not as fast as before—the same can also be said for my running).

Which leads me back to where I began: I’d rather be lucky than good.  If you’re good you can only be good; what you get is what you’ve come to expect.

But if you’re simply competent—like me—you have a chance at some good, old-fashioned dumb luck every now and then.  Then the ‘good’ becomes special!    

·      While I don’t have the genetics you’d find in the more gifted runners, I did run a lot of marathons.  Once I ran a marathon and crossed the finish line before everyone else.  Well, technically I crossed the finish line with someone but I digress.  The point is, I WON A MARATHON!  Well, it wasn’t technically a marathon and it wasn’t actually an official win, but it was certainly good enough for competent-in-spite-of-missing-out-on-all-the-really-good-running-genes ME!  Here is my winning formula: (1) Sign up for the 2003 Tallahassee Marathon.  (2) Show up for said marathon in the middle of the worst thunder, lightning and rain storm in Tallahassee history.  (3) Insist on running in spite of the Race Director canceling the race due to inclement weather.  (4) Enjoy a long casual run with a good friend and 15 or so other diehards while putting our lives at risk and our sanity in doubt.  (5) Cross the finish line before anyone else, ankle-deep water and lightning strikes in the area be damned.     

·      A conservative guestimate is I’ve played over 3,000 rounds (54,000 holes) of golf in my lifetime.  Assuming four par three holes for every 18 holes, I played 12,000 par threes and had a hole in one on one of them.  It was the 175-yard fifth hole at the Mayport Naval Station Golf Course in Mayport, Florida.  The fact I made a hole in one wasn’t particularly noteworthy, as the odds of a golfer like me of making a hole in one in their lifetime was one in 12,500.  Rather, the fact I actually hit a three-iron worth a damn was absolutely mind-boggling.    

·      I bowled quite a bit in college.  One year I ‘tried out’ for the bowling team simply because I could bowl 30 games for free.  Surprisingly I averaged 188 for those 30 games and made the team.  I never met the coach, never participated in a formal practice or competition and never received a uniform (collegiate bowlers have uniforms, right?), but that doesn’t stop me from saying I ‘played’ collegiate sports at the University of Florida.  Except when I say it I leave out the air quotes. 

·      I started dating Cindy when we were both seniors in high school.  She seemed impressed I wanted to be a lawyer and drive a Mercedes after graduating from college, which was true until I became a freshman at the University of Florida and discovered (by my count) every single freshman in my class wanted to be a lawyer too.  I immediately changed my major to ‘undecided.’  Today I work for a company that makes really cool sports cars, one of which I am allowed to drive.  I won’t mention the company but I will tell you it’s the car all Mercedes want to be when they grow up. 

As you know Cindy and I married after we graduated from Florida.  Aside from the fact that she has never been on time once in her life and needs 10 minutes or more to relate a story that could be told in well under 30 seconds, she’s just about perfect. 

Just more proof that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while. 

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