Just sent the email to my former place of work where I subtly talk shit about the dude that fired me. Oh, they’ll chalk it up to sour grapes, and it’ll probably bite me in the ass eventually, but whatever. I’m nervous, however. I feel like I may have fucked up. Even though, what the fuck did I do? Just trying to get the fucking word out that I’m not a horrible employee, and that I’m a take-no-shit type of dude…
Well, how’s this for a bite in the dick: just checked my email and the note, which was supposed to go out to the two owners and the guy that fired me, only went out to the guy that fired me. I’ve got the wrong email address for the owners apparently. This is the kind of ineptitude that makes me think I deserved to be fired. Oh well. Failure. It’s important.
People don’t talk about the importance of failure enough. Know why? Because failing is embarrassing and no one wants to look like they’ve failed a bunch. Oh, sure, no success story is complete without the story of how many times someone fucked up before nailing it (“oh, man, the first ninety versions of Windows exploded in my garage!”) but that’s not really failure. That’s tenacity and that’s not like failure at all. Failure is when you fuck something up and you fail. You want to be in a band and you guys suck so bad that it’s not worth pursuing. You write a book and it’s terrible. You go out for an audition and they laugh at you. You try to pass the bar six times and eventually you settle on becoming a mailman. That’s failure. FAILING! Doing something so poorly that for the rest of your life when you think back on it, you get that feeling of hateful embarrassment in your gut and maybe you even have to make a little sound like “ugh” or something. I’m not talking about a tour that’s not cash positive. I’m not talking about a bad day at work or a tossed off attempt at dancing in a salsa class that went wrong. I’m talking bombing on stage trying standup. I’m talking about doing everything you can to get her to like you for months only to have your buddy wind up meeting her and boning her up against the 7-11 dumpster in fifteen minutes. Failure. Real honest failing. I know you all can think of something right now that makes you just so embarrassed to be you because of the totality with which it implies that you’ve failed. Fuck. I can think of tons, TONS of things that are downright failures that I’ve tried to do.
Songs, books, scripts, entreaties not to be perceived as a phony/douchebag/unfuckable dude, job applications, general presentation as a good guy, athletic, personal and professional performances, I’ve got something in all these categories that makes me involuntarily cringe and moan whenever I think of them. So do you. We all pretend we don’t, but we do.
Here’s the thing though: failure is important. Not just for the ‘character building’ that it offers, but because it’s a clear barometer of what you’re up to. Have you failed at a lot of things? No? Well, that means you haven’t tried a lot of things. That means you exist in a comfort zone where you thrive and you’ll never do anything truly spectacular.
Here’s what I mean: I read this interview with Billie Joe a few years ago and he talked about how when he wrote lyrics, it was always the ones that were so personal that they seemed like they were potentially really embarrassing that wound up being the best. He had to risk failure, go outside his comfort zone and potentially subject himself to public humiliation to really strike gold.
Simply put, nothing that’s worth a shit can be done without the risk of looking like a total dildo. Nothing. That’s the WHOLE THING THAT MAKES IT IMPRESSIVE!!!!!!! If you’ve never felt sick in your guts from not pulling something off, you’ve never pushed yourself to the level of uncertainty that breeds excellence. That’s true, folks.
Sure, you’ve got that friend that’s in the terrible band and he keeps plugging away and they just suck and it’s embarrassing as shit, and you thank your lucky stars that you’re not so completely oblivious as him but you know what? He’s doing something. You are nothing more than a critic. And in this internet age, anyone can be a critic. Look who’s talking, folks.
So, get what I’m saying here? Don’t be ashamed of your failures. Be ashamed of NOT having failures, because ultimately that’s worse. That’s failure. Coasting through, never challenging your own intellect or physical prowess and never discovering how great you might have been.
That’s lame. Even for you turds.