I have a guilt half-life. It’s quite useful because dealing with guilt is one of the most important things I have to do on a daily basis.
I feel guilty for everything. As Woody Allen once said, “if one guy is starving someplace, it puts a crimp on my evening”. Basically the reason I get out of bed in the morning is because I feel that I would be letting people down if I didn’t.
So what is this guilt half-life? Well basically every time I do something stupid I feel guilty about it but it gets a score (in my head) of how bad it was. But sometimes its difficult to tell exactly what that score is at the time. I feel bad at the time but the only real way to tell exactly how bad I feel about it is to see how long it takes to fall through the different levels of telling people how stupid I’ve been.
Basically, I like telling stories more than I mind feeling embarrassed about how the stories make me look. So when I do something stupid a bit of me knows that sooner or later I’ll be telling people about what I did. Each story makes the following progression.
1 – Tell Katherine, she often gets to hear it when it’s still very raw
2 – Close friends
3 – Family
4 – Friends in general in the pub
5 – The readers on this blog
So when it finally hits the blog that’s a sign that I no longer feel embarrassed about what I did. Not really. And that’s almost always the moment to retire the story from being retold. Everyone’s heard it once, and if they haven’t I guess they could always look it up. But the main thing is that if you’re telling the story in public you’ve got to have the fight between “embarrassment at finishing the story” and the “need to get another laugh” to give it the emotional punch you want. It definitely makes it funnier, which is why when it gets to the blog it’s probably over for the guilt and the story itself.