My Once Best and Worst Case Scenarios

It all started with something my propaganda professor Frank Thayer said a long time ago:

Life doesn’t turn out the best-possible way you could imagine.  It also doesn’t turn out the worst way.  It’s usually something in between.

That scared me at the time.  Still does, actually.

So I decided to be concrete about it.  What– really– was my best-case scenario for life?  What was my worst-case scenario?

The Best-Case Scenario

I met a guy named Adriano in Australia.  He was a half-Italian Londoner who was working on his master’s degree in Linguistics.  He was driving around the world to raise money for a charity with his best friends.  He was one of those people that you couldn’t get enough of.  He was funny, interesting, smart, unique, and charismatic.  So obviously he reminded me of myself.  He was 32 when I met him (I was 20), but he was young at heart and we would hang out often.  I  could only hope to be something like him when I was 32.

The Worst-Case Scenario

Just before my last semester of college, I worked at a daily newspaper.  One of the designers/editors/reporters there, Kevin, was a very funny guy.  He would repeat a lot of the same jokes throughout the day as different people showed up, but he was still really amusing to bounce ideas off of.  One of my favorite jokes to date came from talking to him:

Me (talking about whether they should close Main St. for a celebration of the end of slavery): I guess I can see both sides of that.

Kevin (misunderstanding my statement to be more general than it was intended): Of slavery?

Me (going with it): Yeah.  I mean, on the one hand it’s the brutal dehumanization of fellow human beings, devaluing them to their material abilities and their usefulness for your own selfish gain based on something as entirely arbitrary as the superficial features of their skin.  But on the other hand…  Think of the Savings!

So I like the guy.  He reminded me of me in his irreverence and wit.  I just did not want to be where he was in his life at his age (he was 28, I was 21 at the time).  Why?  Because he had been working for the same chain of newspapers for eight years and it wasn’t a big chain.  Furthermore, it was in the middle of nowhere and it wasn’t even the kind of job with upward mobility or a future.  I mean, I was 21 and I had essentially the same job he did.

So, I thought.  I don’t have to live like either of them, but as long as my life is more like Adriano than Kevin, I’ll be happy.  This was in 2007. I had just graduated and I was doing what Kevin did for a living.  This realization made me drastically depressed and was instrumental in my drastically changing my life.

Now I’m in grad school and that’s sort of what Adriano did for a living… sort of.  So now that my life has changed, I’ve decided to update my best and worst case scenarios.  More on this in a future post.

(I’d post pictures of these guys, but I’d have to ask permision for that, and I can’t really think of a way of putting the request into words.  “Hi, I think your life is horrible and inspires me to do everything I can to not end up like you.  Can I post an image of you on the Internet so that everyone can know just who lives this life which is so lamentable?”)

(continued here)

One comment

  1. Man, it could be worse for Kevin. Much, much worse. I know ‘cos I dated a couple of much worse case scenarios who nearly destroyed me. But I guess it’s all relative to what you’ve experienced. It’s good to strive for the best case scenario, but never expect it to look like what you think it might look like – life changes in strange and sometimes wonderful ways and it’s a constant thing to re-evaluate your best/worst case scenarios.

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