Failure Is How We Get Ahead In Life
I’ve been a failure since my first breath. Born with a mortal congenital heart defect I was not expected to live beyond four years of age. But in 1963 failures like me were given a chance to live beyond our natural physiology, pediatric cardiac surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit were pushing the boundaries of what could be repaired in the heart of a small child, barely beyond the toddler years. So at the age of three years old, Tear-Drop, my stuffed dog and I were wheeled into a operating room (surgical suite is too advanced a term to use for the combination of Butcher and Mechanic that epitomized the state of surgical arts half a century ago), and the surgical team obliged my fears by doing everything they intended to do to me, to Tear Drop, first. They placed the stainless mesh screen with chloroform over Tear Drop’s nose and mouth before it descended over mine. I’ll never forget the view or the smell as it approached my face. I was lying in a bed of ice to slow my respiration and bodily functions because heart-lung machines hadn’t been invented yet. To this very day I hate the feel of ice anywhere but in my drink. Any medical advice to “put ice on it” is immediately rejected; I’ll deal with the pain and swelling naturally before any ice-pack gets near me.
My First Failure Was Not Dying
I was meant to die in early childhood. I failed.
My physical body, like yours, was designed to be radiantly healthy and whole, with its own ability to heal itself and to fight off any organisms that might be a threat to life and limb. But like furniture from Ikea, putting it all together properly, even with the best instructions possible, shit happens – it may be a missing part, a failure of the assembler to accurately read and understand the instructions provided, or over-torque-ing a screw and damaging the particle board or plastic substrate. In my case, a valve of my heart did not have the lobes that enable the valve to open and close thereby creating the “dub” sound of the “lub-dub” most folks recognize as their own heartbeat. Since artificial heart valves didn’t exist at the time, the only options available to the surgeons was to cut the valve like a pizza. It would never work as designed, but it would allow free flow of blood through the chambers of my heart to my lungs for proper oxygenation. Ever since, physicians, nurses and students of medicine have loved listening to my heart. They can’t get enough of it. In fact when I lived in Toronto and went into the hospital for some routine testing, an entire class of future physicians, nurses and technicians were invited into the exam room to listen to the unusual sounds my heart makes! It sounded “normal” to me, but I was “abnormal,” I was, and to this day remain alive. I’ve failed to die for over half a century. Has anyone else failed for so long and lived to tell about it?
My Second Failure Was Not Teaching My Father What Matters In Life
What is your life’s purpose? Why are you here? These are the types of questions that Mystics have asked ever since sentience has existed among animals. From whales to primates to animals with incredible sentience that is discounted or dismissed by men and women in lab coats, everything that exists is conscious. Science may not accept or understand this reality, but it is a fact. Ultimately there is only one conscious mind in existence, and each of us and everything that exists is a mere part of this mind. How do I know this? I died during heart surgery in 1963. I was revived, but dying gave me limited access to the mysteries of life that have intrigued humans beings forever. There is no “Death.” Stop being a pussy. Life doesn’t end when your body no longer functions.
Mystics generally accept reincarnation based on evidence, sometimes their own personal experience, but more often based on the experiences of others or the evidence of previous incarnations presented by others. If you can get passed the propaganda that YOLO (You Only Live Once), the next question is “why am I here?” Each of us has a reason to exist as a living animal. Many mystics believe that we actually “accept assignments” prior to our birth; think of it as homework or an assignment we have agreed to undertake to improve the quality of life for others. My assignment was to teach my father what really matters in life. You see, being born in 1929, my father grew up during the Great Depression, which didn’t really end until after WWII, when the US government stopped (temporarily) building the greatest war machine the Earth has ever witnessed. My father dropped out of school in eighth grade to make money, and money was the only thing he desired. Whether as a means of making up for a poor childhood, a means of keeping score, or to overcome his sense of inadequacy is of little importance. Material wealth was his god. My assignment was to provide the lesson that material wealth is nothing without love in your heart. My disabled heart valve was the centerpiece of this learning experience. It was hoped that having your eldest son on Death’s Doorstep would grow his heart three sizes, just like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. While my father did have a heart, it was broken in a way that couldn’t be repaired the way mine was. Once it was believed that I would survive to adulthood, he returned to his idolatry of material wealth.
I Failed to Remember Why I Am Here
As masters, mistresses or teachers we are only responsible for presenting the lesson. We are not responsible for whether or not the student learns the lesson. Free Will is a fact, not a philosophical exercise in possible modes of sentience. Not only did I fail to teach my father the lesson I was born to share, I failed to understand that I was not a failure for his failure to learn the lesson! I rebelled. It began in early childhood with Anarchy in the true sense of the word, not it’s politically charged pejorative connotation. I broke any rule or law that seemed stupid or based on control for control’s sake. Mothers in my neighborhood loved my thick head of hair, because it made me easy to pick up, by my hair, whenever they caught me “undermining the youth of Athens” with my anarchy ways.
As I matured, I turned my back on success, and actually managed to undermine my own success in an unconscious sort of way. If material wealth was my father’s god, I would be his Satan, rejecting success and wealth at every turn! In 1983, while attending university and working full-time I failed essentially the same algebra class three times! It would be over a decade later before I aced college algebra, but by then I had become less damaged and more whole than I was at the age of 23. I had rediscovered the truth that I was not responsible for the success or failure of my student, just for presenting the lesson. At the age of thirty-five I finally began living my life, for my benefit and the benefit of my daughter, and success in the business world commenced.
Over the last eighteen years I have started numerous businesses. Many failed, but a few succeeded. I continue to roll the dice for a better life for myself and my daughter, who is now my teacher.
For those of you who have followed The Boot-Strap Expat adventure, you’ve already had a glimpse of some recent failures. The latest is my attempt to underwrite the bulk of my move to Chile by buying thousands of dollars worth of antiques, collectibles, gems, gold and silver at auction with the intent to flip them all in about a month via an indoor marketplace. After realizing that sales weren’t strong enough to liquidate in a month, I extended my play through this last weekend, Black Friday weekend being a major inducement. I failed. Though sales back in September seemed promising, over the last three weeks, including Black Friday weekend, my sales have barely been enough to keep me in beer and rubbers after paying rent, and since I don’t have a Lady in my life, I’m not buying rubbers. In fact sales have been so bad the last month, I felt compelled to send a personal apology to a man I admire greatly, Jeff Berwick of The Dollar Vigilante, who also is responsible for Galt’s Gulch, the community at the end of my Yellow Brick Road.
Not My First Rodeo
Having failed throughout my life, I know that failure is a temporary condition, like Life itself. I have been evaluating options and opportunities to support The Boot-Strap Expat adventure continuously over the last ninety days, and while plans are subject to revision, goals seldom are. I’ll keep failing until I succeed and hope you do too.
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