Take the time today to reflect on a bad decision you made

Yesterday, I went to a Men’s group meeting in Luck, Wisconsin.  This is an interesting group of men led by Mr. Dan Beal, a former high school principal.  They have been meeting every other Wednesday for over eight years now. Each meeting, one man hosts a subject or idea or topic for discussion.  With plenty of coffee and snacks, the group meets for about two hours and shares their ideas on the subject.  Good fun, fellowship and camaraderie are had by all.  In addition, one always learns something from sharing ideas with other people. The subject for yesterday’s discussion was selected by Russ Hanson and dealt with selecting a single decision in our lives that we most regretted and then speculating on “what would our lives have been like”if we had chosen another decision.
I tried very hard for a week to think of a single decision that I regretted and that I would do over. I could not come up with one. I called my friend Bruce and ran this by him.  He said “It does not seem doable. How could you make another decision?”  I agreed with this perspective but it seemed somewhat arrogant to say that there was nothing in my life that could not be changed or perhaps another road I should have taken.  I decided to use the following decision as the basis for my contribution to the group. I wrote it out as follows:
I made this decision when I turned 18 years old.  The year was 1964.  I made it a time right after high school when I could not get into college and the Vietnam War was building up.  The decision I made has profoundly affected my life ever since.  Indeed it is probably the single most important decision I have made in my entire life.  Its repercussions still affect my life to this day.
I decided to go into the USAF.  You may ask why and here are my reasons:
  1.       I liked the uniforms and thought they would attract more women.
  2.        I assumed it took more brains to be in the Air Force than the Army or Marines
  3.       I had some vague ideas about being a war hero 
  4.          I was sick of living at home and wanted to see the world

I note that this decision was a major mistake.  I will not bother you with the myriad reasons why. Suffice it to say, that none of my reasons really panned out. Thus, the path I should have trod, the decision I should have made was this:  I should have joined the US Marines.  You asked us to speculate as best we could on the changes that this decision would have made in our lives.  However, I can safely say that in my case, this is not mere speculation but true unadulterated fact. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that had I joined the Marines and been a Jar Head instead of a Wing Nut the following changes would have occurred in my life:

  •            I would have had relations with a lot more women. Maybe as many as Wilt Chamberlain and that is as some of you know more than 20,000 women.  It turns out, according to reliable statistics, that the Marine uniform is very sexy to a great deal more women than the US Air Force uniform or most any other uniforms.
  •            I would quickly have been selected for OCS and risen in time to at least a 3 star General.  I would have been decorated many times over, seen true combat and no doubt have been at least awarded a Silver Star, a ticker tape parade on Broadway and a meeting with then President Lyndon B. Johnson, whom I might add I subsequently met but that is another story.
  •            As a result of my war hero status, I would have pursued a career in politics and easily have become a US Senator from Wisconsin and perhaps even run for President of the US. With my brains, good looks and military connections, It is highly likely I would have become the next president of the United States instead of Richard Milhous Nixon.
  •           I would now be receiving a tremendous pension. I would be rich beyond belief and living in a great big mansion near Bone Lake where I would be protected by a whole bunch of secret service men who no doubt would be partying with local women even as I speak.
  •             And last, most important and not least, if I had been a US Marine instead of an Air Force wing nut, I would have a really cool tattoo of a bull dog on my right arm instead of the bare skin that now adorns it.
Thank you for allowing me to share my fateful decision with you all here today. I can only hope that if the Hindus are right and I am reborn again, I will make the right choice on my second time around.
By the way, for those of you who might have missed it, there is a moral to this story: Clothes really do make the man!
Well that is my talk and my contribution to the discussion.  Now it is your turn. What decisions have you made that if you had your life to do over, you would change? Why would you change it?  How would your life be different today if you had? 

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