When I was three years old I got a nifty prize in a box of Cracker Jack--a wedding ring set, both the engagement ring (with a gen-u-ine fake diamond) and the wedding band. Sure, it was silver plastic, but it was cool.
I wore those rings everywhere. It didn't matter that they were way too big for my fingers; as long as I kept my hand in a fist, they stayed on.
Until that eventful day I went to the bathroom on my own (still kind of a big deal when you're three), took care of business, and...the rings slipped off my hand into the toilet.
Well. I knew better than to stick my hand into that dirty water. Mama hadn't raised any dummies.
So I figured I'd just fish those rings out after I flushed. Because then the water would be clean, right? Made perfect sense to me.
*sigh* I still miss those rings.
Life Lesson #1: sometimes there's no avoiding the crap when you're figuring out a problem.
Another time, when I was about six, I wanted to climb to the top of the clothesline pole. I wasn't very good at shimmying up, like my brothers were, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from viewing my backyard from on high.
A length of rope, with a loop on one end, lay abandoned by my second-oldest brother in the corner of the yard. He'd been using it to practice lassoing any of our pets not smart enough to avoid him. (Yes, the rabbit hated him. The dog was fast, and didn't mind as much.)
My mind feverishly devised a complex (for a six-year-old) pulley system. I threw one end of the rope over the crossbar on top of the pole. Put my feet in the loop. Pulled on the other end, envisioning being lifted by my elegant rope elevator.
Hmm. I was heavier than I realized. This, thought six-year-old me, will take more effort.
So I put my all into it. Gave a MIGHTY heave...and yanked my feet out from under me. Landed--hard--flat on my back. Knocked the wind right out of myself.
Which, let me tell you, is an absolutely awful feeling. Honestly. I thought I was going to die right then and there. Took me for-effin'-ever to get the air back into my lungs.
Life Lesson #2: sometimes shortcuts are treacherous.
When I was a freshman I was in a play at my high school, and after it closed, I attended my very first cast party. Most of the other kids were juniors and seniors, and had later curfews than I did. Not wanting to appear "babyish," I didn't let on that I had to leave early. I just stayed out with the gang (and had a blast) until the party closed down about 2 a.m. When I got home, my mother was sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea.
She took one look at me, got up, took her cup to the kitchen, and went to bed, so mad she didn't trust herself to speak.
Of course, I worried the rest of the night about what my punishment would be. Rightly so, since it turned out I was grounded for a month, in spite of my abject apologies.
*cough* It was SO worth it.
Life Lesson #3: sometimes it's better to apologize afterward than ask permission before. ;)
(What? You were expecting virtue? Ha-ha-ha! I'm trying to be honest about the lessons life has taught me.)
How about you? Has life taught you anything the hard way?