When I was a kid, I was an obnoxious little know-it-all. This probably explains why I was slightly less popular than herpes.
After a few years, I figured out that nobody likes obnoxious little know-it-alls, but by then it was too late. When you go to school in a small town, your position in the clique hierarchy is established at an early age. It’s probably just as well. I never did get over being a know-it-all; now I just try not to be obnoxious about it. Sometimes I even succeed.
My main problem is that I’m blessed with an overabundance of what I prefer to call “optimism”. This characteristic leads me to believe I can tackle just about anything, and that I can probably have it done before lunch.
It doesn’t seem to matter if I’ve never done it before. I research it a bit and then decide, “Ah, how hard can it be?” The internet has only made things worse. “How-to” videos are my evil enabler.
This has led to a few spectacular successes, a surprising number of acceptable results, and an occasional disaster. Fortunately, I’ve never decided to try brain surgery or air traffic control.
But with age comes wisdom. Back in the old days, I’d jump right in, secure in the knowledge that “I can do it”. Now, I’m much more mature and measured in my approach. Now I jump in hoping I can do it.
Maybe I’m solving the wrong problem here.
I’m not incapable of learning from my mistakes, though. One of my more valuable life lessons arrived as an epiphany in the dressing room at the clothing store: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes I even remember to apply this wisdom before enthusiastically plunging into another ill-conceived scheme. (Another lesson from the dressing room: spandex should be issued only to those in possession of a current and valid Fashion Police Spandex Permit. But I digress.)
Lately, I’ve been thinking about this “optimism” trait more than usual. My first book hit Amazon.com last week. Three more will be up within the next five weeks. I’d like to point out that, unlike my usual reckless approach, I did actually spend a lot of time learning to write before inflicting my books on the unsuspecting public. But there’s still some little part of me that wonders if this is one of those projects that’s doomed to ignominious failure.
Telling people I’ve written novels makes me feel the same kind of defiant discomfort as if I was admitting I wore adult diapers. (I don’t, by the way. Just sayin’.) There’s the certain knowledge that it’s not a shameful thing, but it’s also slightly embarrassing to admit I spend a great deal of my time interacting with imaginary people. It tarnishes my know-it-all image when people realize I’m spewing pure, unadulterated bullshit.
On the upside, my “optimism” shows me a happy world in which people actually buy my books and enjoy them. Guess I’ll have to wait and see.
I’m hoping for spectacular success. Before lunch, if possible.
P.S. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Since my step-mom is dealing with breast cancer right now, I thought I’d share this video with its delightfully, um, solid message. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsyE2rCW71o&feature=youtu.be (Sorry, guys, this one only has eye candy for the ladies. I’ll let you know if I find a counterpart for prostate cancer awareness.)