I Gots To Know

It is said that it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than to ask for permission. 

See, I don’t know about that. My life experiences have suggested to me that you could get screwed either way. You ask for permission, it might not work out. Ditto with the forgiveness part. It’s what the Trekkies call a Kobayashi Maru, a no win scenario. 

If you really want to frustrate me, put me in a no win scenario. 

When I’ve been met with such decisions in my life, it has more or less paralyzed my thought process as to what to do. It also occasionally triggers me into a panic attack kind of condition where there’s this wave of doing the less rational thing that hits me. 

Sometimes I can resist that urge. Most times I can’t. Like the criminal in one of those Dirty Harry movies said, “I gots to know.”

For example, when I worked at Sun Radio in early 1991, the Persian Gulf War was going on. My shift ended at 6pm one day, but I had very little to do than to wait for my shift relief to arrive. 

We had an AP and a UPI wire service, and I was hearing the AP wires bleep out alarms at about 5:45. If I remember right, there had been a scud attack on Israel.

I was told beforehand that I wasn’t allowed to handle the AP machine, but seeing none of my co-workers around, I took charge. My co-workers reprimanded me when I admitted my guilt, but my supervisors who could have fired me did nothing. 

After that, no such restrictions were in place on me. I guess they saw I was trying to make the best decision I could given the situation, and I eventually earned the respect of the co-workers as well. 

But I could have done nothing, and avoided everything, conceivably. I chose to act, even though by doing so I’d take heat for it. 

One day I’ll learn to control these urges of mine. But at what price?

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