hedge your bets, don’t get killed

When I think of all the people killing people—ignorance abound—I think of how important it is to be nice. I don’t want to be killed. Not by a stranger that I’ve somehow offended or wronged in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Not by a co-worker that didn’t get a raise. Not by my wife for any number of reasons—which, by the way, I’m sure would be a slow, painful death. And especially not by my kids. Waking up in the middle of the night to find them standing over my bed. One with an axe. The other with a hammer. Both of them clutching teddy bears, but ready to take care of business because they are pissed off because I keep trying to get them to eat something other than cereal for breakfast, to brush their teeth, put away their toys, or clean their rooms.

In short, I don’t want to be killed. Besides, it’s easier to be nice and it creates less havoc.

I haven’t always been good at it, but I have managed—for the most part—to stay out of serious trouble. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. Certainly, I have been to blame for heartache, pain, and general frustration, but I’ve never had ill intent. Most of the bad in my life has been caused by selfishness, stupidity, and a lack of paying attention. I like to think that a majority of the population is like this. Just trying to get by and be happy and help others be happy. Yet, day in and day out we see examples of people making mistakes. People putting themselves into situations where they are likely to be killed. Your chances of being killed are directly related to the types of situations you put yourself in.

Drink six vodka tonics and drive home? You have chosen to flirt with death via guardrails, tree trunks, telephone poles, and other automobiles.

Screw another man’s wife? Be prepared for a sneak attack. A bum rush. Maybe one guy with a lot of jealous rage and a meat cleaver. Maybe one guy and three of his buddies with bats and two-by-fours.

Hang out on the corner peddling drugs, stolen merchandise, or hookers? Be prepared for gunfire, knife blades, and general beatings.

Mom always said not to hang out with ruffians, delinquents, or dumbasses. Dad said if I ran with the wrong crowd, I’d be writing myself a death sentence. And now, 41 years into this life, I see they were right. One bad decision leads to another and although you may be a good person and just fucking up a little, you can be sure that if something bad can happen, it will, and it’s best to hedge your bets. Keep your nose clean. Stay out of trouble. Hold doors for old ladies. Make an honest living. Do not lie, cheat, or steal. Raise kids–any kids–right.

People will argue that bad decisions sometimes must be made in order for survival. Others will also argue that sometimes people cannot help themselves because they don’t know any better. Sure, some of it has to do with background, upbringing, and situation, but why can’t we make better choices? There are plenty of people that come from broken homes, that have been molested, beaten, defeated, betrayed, and have gone through hell and back and yet they have found a better way. They have made a change and turned things around because one day they decided to do the right thing.

The drunk decided to call a cab.

The horny guy kept his dick in his pants.

The petty crook and hooker pusher got off the street and decided to really tough it out and do the hardest thing imaginable—sack up, admit mistakes, and move on with good intent.

And Dad, well, he bought more Count Chocula, Lucky Charms, and Cookie Crunch and he remembered, every day, to hug his wife, kiss her, and tell how much he loved her.

~ K.J.


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