A moment’s rash action, a lifetime of regret

“The king who, arriving at certain conclusions, carries on his regal affairs agreeable to justice, has no need to repent afterwards.  But those actions that are done without deliberation, like unto clarified butter poured onto an unclean sacrifice, conduce only to harm.” — Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddhakanda Sarga 12

6 thoughts on “A moment’s rash action, a lifetime of regret”

  1. “A moment’s rash action, a lifetime of regret.”

    Story of my life.

    You’re so brainy, Tetman. If we were in school, I’d be angling for a seat next to you, scooching over to get a look at your paper. I bet you dealt with a lot of eyelash-batting in your day.

    1. Brains are a mixed blessing. Once you get a reputation for being smart and knowing a lot, you feel a lot of pressure to always be smart and always know. Then you get a reputation for being a know-it-all and for being a person who doesn’t know as much as you pretend to know. And in school, you get people wanting you to help them cheat on tests and threatening you if you don’t. As for eyelash-batting, I was clueless. My self-image was so low, I thought of myself as an ugly despicable pig and was slow to realize I was not (so, it turns out I didn’t know everything after all).

  2. Before you think I’m an asshole, let me quickly say that I’ve never cheated on a test or a man, never stolen so much as a stick of gum, or lied with the intention to harm another person’s reputation. But I’ll sidle up to you now, since my confidence is wobbly and I have to learn from someone, and I think you don’t mind when I say I don’t know.

    I had some friends like you in school (before I left school) so I think I understand how you felt. My childhood was the opposite of that; very low expectations and nobody paying much attention to whether my answers were right or whether I had answered at all. As long as I was smiling, I had fulfilled my role in society.

    1. It would never cross my mind to think you’re an asshole. I will tell you true, even though I don’t know you beyond what you post on Betsy’s blog and your blog, you are the closest I have to a friend these days.

      I’m not sure if I’ve ever cheated on a test. Haven’t had much need to. I know I’ve never cheated on a man. I’ve stolen what I thought I could get away with, and I got away with it. I don’t believe I’ve ever lied with the intention to harm another’s reputation. Often I won’t even tell the truth if not telling it will protect another’s reputation. I’m slowly and somewhat belatedly learning more and more to hold my tongue.

  3. I read your line as “you are the closest friend I have these days” and that made me happy . . . then I read what you actually wrote and it got me thinking.

    You don’t know me and I don’t know you, and we put the disclaimer in because it doesn’t feel safe to reveal that our online relationships matter. Or maybe because we’re embarrassed to admit that affection and friendship can exist when every other part of human interaction is suspended but for the words.

    But if words don’t matter, then thoughts don’t matter and our work is foolish and empty–and I don’t believe that. I am a real woman with real tears that you have stilled, and there would be more to follow if it seemed that our friendship was at an end. You know me better than the people who share my home. That’s not nothing.

    One of these days I’ll learn to hold my tongue as well. Lead on, McDuff.

    1. Online relationships are necessarily limited. You have made it clear on your blog that you protect yourself and your family by keeping your identity confidential. I have no problem with that. I’ve made it clear there are things I don’t write about on my blog or anywhere else on the web–and some of them I don’t write about anywhere at all–because there are some confidences I will not violate, not even to spin clever tales that will shine the spotlight on me.

      You know that old TV show, “Cheers”? The one about the bar? Blogs are like that. We all meet there, and in a way we all know a little something about each other, but there’s a lot we don’t know. It’s not relevant to the context. (I was an actual bartender in actual real-life bars for seven years, and I can tell you there were people I saw almost every night and knew well in some ways but knew very little about in others. And most of these people I never saw anywhere else.) And there are other ways in which a gathering of avatars on a blog is not the same as a swarm of barflies, but I won’t belabor the obvious.

      Words matter. We’re writers. We know words matter. Thoughts matter. We’re human beings. Without thoughts what would we be? Without friends what would we be?

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