Bad Choices Make Good Stories


And boy, do I ever have some good stories given the grand choices I’ve made – even though they all seemed to be such good ideas at the time.

Khoon Lay Gan/123RF Photo

The other day, I was waiting for a light to turn green in my downtown Los Angeles neighborhood and saw this written on the T-shirt worn by a high school-age boy in the crosswalk: “Bad choices make good stories.”

Oh yes, they sure do and I’ve got a million of them. But at his age, did he?

My good stories (a.k.a. bad choices) have entertained people who read my articles and amused friends around the dining room table, but they’ve yet to provide me with anything I can take to the bank. As much as a good story can help pass the time, they’re not a commodity that normally results in a tangible reward.

They have, however, taught me some valuable lessons, usually painful, that weren’t always grasped on first passing and had to be repeated with a different cast of characters down the road, particularly in the area of romance. But it’s not just my bad boyfriend choices; other bad choices have included dropping out of college after my junior year so I could move to Nashville to pursue a singing career with zero stage experience other than sitting in with local bar bands in Denver. Now that was helluva bad choice but one amazingly good story. Another not so great choice was coming to the “brilliant” conclusion that alcohol was a great way to “medicate” my introverted personality to the point where taking a drink before making a phone call became a necessity (which is why I don’t drink at all now).

And then there’s the time I decided to marry a man I’d been dating for four months because if I didn’t, he’d have to go back to England because his work visa was expiring. And then deciding a year later, when things were rocky, that the real problem was that we got married at the justice of the peace and a big church wedding would be the solution. Yep, another bad choice: marrying the wrong man twice – but another good story.

These are just a few that come to mind. There are many, many others – and even times when the right choice was made and no entertaining story resulted.  And there are new choices, too, for which the jury is still out – like my recent purchase of a second home because I got tired of having money socked away in the stock market. Of course, once I invested in the house, the stock market reached record highs!

At any rate, I do believe it’s true: bad choices do make good stories. People enjoy hearing them because they find comfort in realizing they’re not the only ones who’ve made mistakes and sometimes feel relief to know they dodged a bullet that hit me right between the eyes.

So cheers to me and all of my fellow “bad choice / good story” friends. May we recover from the repercussions of our bad choices, dust ourselves off and live to tell the tale of the time when we … so others can say, “Whoa, I would never do something like THAT!”

Kim Calvert
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.

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