I would love to say that I have lived a perfectly logical life, that I made every decision was steeped in logic and forethought. That would be a lie however, on two accounts. The first is that I enjoy the illogical, as these choices tend to lead to the best stories. The second is that I have done something stupid; many things in fact. The example that jumps immediately to mind occurred at a night club a few years back. I had finished my last final exam that morning and developed a hairline fracture running to the exam building. For those of you in the dark, my love or running extended back to my days as a university student, as I ran 3km to the University of Manitoba from my house every day…exams being no exception. Beyond developing a strange rash from running in tight jeans with a pocket full of keys and pens, my practice of running the whatever shoes were cheapest created a hairline fracture, a crack running the length of my shin bone for you non-medical types out there.
Starting the day by breaking a leg, you would think that a dance club would be the last place I would end my evening. However, despite my earlier argument for logic, I am as prone to foolish decisions as any other. So when a pretty and kind young girl sitting next to me during the exam invited me out to Stereo, a local night club, I agree without second thought. Standing up after finishing the exam however, the second thoughts quickly came rushing to my head, but by that point I had already agreed and well, a deal is a deal.
Later that night I would find myself sitting on a couch at the edge of the dance floor, pounding bass music remixed in with the rap artist of month boring into my skull and preventing communication with Ryan, the one friend I recruited on such short notice that shared the couch with me. I did not need my ears however, when that same woman from the exam motioned me to join her on the dance floor. Looking down at my bottle of pain killers, than back at the woman, and back to the bottle, I paused for a moment as my brain unleashed a core-dump of reasons to not stand up. At this point I remember turning to my friend and saying something to the tune of “the things we do Ryan”, before downing the remaining four capsules and shuffling onto the dance floor. I say shuffle because those who know my love of running will also testify that aptitude in running doesn’t translate to other leg-centric skills, namely dancing. What followed was 2 and a half hours of enjoyable if somewhat awkward movements (I recall breaking out the dice-roll at some point). I truly wish that this story would amount to some sort of spectacular finale, but the truth is that after dancing for more than 2 hours on a broken leg, carried along by a barrage of painkillers, all I was left with at the end of the day was a wicked case of leg pain the next morning and the story I now share with you.
People sometimes ask me why I share embarrassing and stories. Admittedly, dancing on a broken leg is pretty stupid, but I firmly believe that by sharing self-deprecating stories, we free ourselves from an artificial standard of perfection that we portray to the public. We are all human and sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we act illogical, sometimes we fall (unless you are held up by painkillers). The point is that we choose how we deal with these moments of embarrassment. We can hide them from the world, striving to seal up the cracks of our perfect persona, but this denies both our humanity and the flawed nature in which we plan our lives. Looking back however, by admitting our mistakes we free ourselves from the weight of maintaining a perfect image and more often than not, develop excellent stories to share with others.