The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair

Everything you need to know about getting it wrong.

Category Archives: Introduction

It’s All Fun and Games Until . . .

Image found on cheezburger.com by superfightpanda

Image found on cheezburger.com by superfightpanda

 

Some people turn vicious when they get drunk. It’s as if the alcohol floats venom to the top of their personalities resulting in bitchiness, nastiness and/or violence. I am generally a congenial and socially acceptable drinker. My anger floats to the top via technology. And men. But men are not today’s topic. Printer/copier/fax machines, cable companies, and phone service providers are my poisons du jour.

I have an anything-computerized-curse. And a Titan sized anger management problem to go with it. I have spent most of the last two days engaged in a tech-fueled hissy fit. I have sworn my way through multiple calls to my internet service provider (several that mysteriously dropped–go figure), thrown lots of heavy objects around my apartment, and contemplated chucking everything wired and wireless out of my second story window à la David Letterman. My affliction also seems to include a compulsion to use French idioms in my writing. Merde!

It’s not possible to live conveniently in today’s world without computerized gadgets and internet access, but the idea of living off the grid in the backwoods of Montana looks more and more appealing every time I encounter a glitch. Which is frequently. The only thing holding me back is starvation, because I can’t keep a single plant alive, much less a whole garden full, and I’m sure as heck not going to take up hunting. Maybe if I just get a cow, a few goats and some chickens I can live off of eggs, butter and cheese? Perhaps there’s a nice commune or cult somewhere that needs a writer to keep a group memoir in exchange for food? These are the kinds of things I sincerely consider at times like this.

My rage is not always directed exclusively at electronic, inanimate objects. Trash cans and screen doors are also on my shit list, but mostly it’s computers and clueless customer service reps that end up on the receiving end of my frenzies of piqué. I once dropped my lap top on the floor, forcefully, and then told the accidental insurance people that the cat had knocked it off the counter. I did that because Microsoft Word kept quitting on me and I lost about 6 pages of a legal document I had been working on for hours. It was highly justified in my opinion. It wasn’t helpful or rational, but it did make me feel better for a few minutes, until I realized that I had scared my dog so badly she wouldn’t come out of the bathroom.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T, Brother and Apple are all out to “get me”. They are manipulative and deceitful. They seduce and entice with promises of faster downloading speeds and a more “connected”, happier and productive life. Then they become arbitrary and disconnected, like bad boyfriends, leaving me alone, frustrated, and wasting hours of my time trying to figure out just what went wrong and how I can make the relationship work again. I want to break up with them all, but there are no better options unless I go join that cult. And I am not religious or prone to easy brainwashing.

Or am I? I read somewhere that super-brands, like Apple, affect the brains of their devotees in the same way that religion affects fanatics’ brains. The same areas light up in response to stimuli of either Apple products or theistic imagery. I’m pretty sure that the sections in my brain related to violence and mayhem would light up if someone gave me an MRI and showed me pictures of iPhones and fax machines. The highly emotional sections of my brain would still react though, making it almost the same thing: obsession and devotion. My devotion is, of course, a devotion to technological animosity. I would call it a love-hate thing, but I only love gadgets because I hate to live without them. Thus my extreme reactions when they refuse to work properly.

I can’t do what I want to do without staying connected via the virtual world, and it will undoubtedly continue to piss me off, so I need to find more productive ways to manage my vexation. I will still probably swear at the useless boobs who pose as customer service reps and technicians because someone working at those companies needs to know they ruined my day, but throwing stuff has to stop. I have a large window in my living room. The copier manual I threw at it two days ago didn’t do any damage, but my iPhone would probably break it and winter is coming. That just won’t do. Maybe I should invest in some boxing gloves and see if my ceiling fan can support a heavy punching bag.

Au revoir for now. With any luck, this most recent episode of oft-interrupted internet service and fax machine Hell will be the last for a while. If you don’t hear from me again you can find me in Montana. You will need a horse and a bloodhound though.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog, The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair. I have been writing for years, though only for school, work, or as a tool to privately exorcise my demons. Recently, as a result of boredom and panic over what to do next with my life, I decided to try to make a go of writing in the public sphere. So here I am. I have taken a nom de plume, Effie Fallire. Roughly translated it means effortless failure which is a bit silly since failing, in my opinion, takes a great deal of effort. It may even take more effort than succeeding. If you’re reading this blog because I invited you personally, I would appreciate it if you didn’t “out” me. I made up a name because I’m writing about embarrassing stuff I did. You already know about it and you’re still my friend. If you’re reading this because, by some miracle, I haven’t failed to gain a wider audience, then thank-you. I hope you enjoy reading about all my screw-ups but I’m not telling you my real name.

It took me a while to figure out just what I would blog about. I knew I needed a theme and the standard writers’ wisdom suggests that it is best to start out writing about something you know. (And probably not rehash standard writers’ wisdom right off the bat.) If you are an expert in your area, so much the better. If you just want to make shit up you better be darn good at it and really, really lucky in order to make a living at it.  Unfortunately I do not have any area of professional expertise that I am willing and able to write about, and for the last few years I have not felt like I know very much at all. Obviously all I was left with was shit and luck. I decided I would try to figure some shit out and hope for the luck to follow. I’m keeping my toes crossed that I don’t just end up with shitty luck. I need my fingers to type.

I had toyed with the idea of writing as more than a secret hobby or a collection of embarrassing journals before but I wasn’t really sure how to start. I’m still not sure but I’m doing it anyway. I had lots of ideas popping around in my head and bits of stories or drafts of my thoughts in files on my computer, phone, and in scattered piles of paper around my apartment. None of my writing seemed to have any connectedness or lent itself to a theme though. It certainly didn’t convey any expertise or credibility in any fashionable or profitable topic area. I was stuck.

Then, in the middle of yet another night of insomnia and worrying over just what the heck I was going to do with my disaster of a life, I found myself chain smoking and pacing around my tiny living room. I really do want to quit smoking but I find excuse after excuse not to really give it a shot. (I just bought this pack and it was $10, I will quit next Monday, I will quit after the holidays, I will quit before I turn 50.) I was talking out loud to myself and beating myself up over the fact that I could manage to fail at so many things but be such a successful smoker. I wanted to fail at smoking. I still do but I haven’t yet. At any rate, three things happened as I was wearing the carpet thin and trying to remember where the closest all-night convenience store was located. (I was almost out of smokes.) First it occurred to me that I am, in fact, an expert at something. Second, the idea for a little vignette about smoking hit me. Finally, after writing my smoking story I managed to get some sleep. I will post my little story soon but for now I will just get back to my long-winded point.

I am an expert at failure–which you may have already guessed from the title of this blog. My niche specialty is self-sabotage. The really great thing about being an expert at failure is that it didn’t require any specialized education or experience other than being alive and making new and ever more creative mistakes. I do have a law degree and even once had a career as a lawyer. But I failed. The education was not necessary to achieve my particular skill. It was just a bonus. It gave me the opportunity to fail big. I’ve failed at pretty much everything else you can imagine as well: diets, exercise regimens, college courses, gardening, relationships (including my marriage), parenting, finances, friendship, Candy Crush, and some days I even manage to fail to get out of bed. I have failed miserably and spectacularly. But hey, if you’re going to fail don’t bother failing half way, go ahead and make it catastrophic.

So this is a blog about failure. Hopefully it is also a blog about redemption. My redemption. With any luck, here is where I will start to learn how to fail at failing. Maybe you will too.

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