Monday, May 18, 2009


I missed Sunday. My drive to post a post every day of May has ended in failure and shame. A touch of relief has also settled in. No longer am I pressured to dreg the lowest levels of my brain for something to write about. So it's a mistake with little consequence.

I've made bigger mistakes.

"It's only pneumonia"

But then again, who hasn't? Mistakes are a fact of life.

That is why I hate the method with which university teaches. I understand that it's necessary to drill us for otherwise how can they (and future employers) be sure we truly know our stuff?

But that same method encourages us to hide our mistakes. We're taught that if something isn't caught by the professor, then it's not a mistake and it's best to just ignore it. Mistakes lead to lower grades and lower grades means a lower GPA and a lower GPA means you lag behind as your peers outcompete in opportunities.

And that story of the student who was honest and pointed out the professor made a mistake in grading? And how the professor, astounded at the student's honesty, awarded him extra points? Nonsense. I've done it twice and to no one's surprise the grade was lowered. In essence you are punished for admitting a mistake.

That's just simple exams. I've shit bricks when, after turning in a paper, I find a reference which obliterates whatever conclusion I reached. The only saving grace is that the professor has better things to do than place a stupid undergrad's paper under a microscope. New things refuting old things are a constant, but sloppy research is a whole beast altogether.

I feel that in the real world, hiding a mistake would be disastrous. You wouldn't want to cross a bridge in California knowing that one of the engineers behind it hid the fact that a magnitude 5 earthquake would topple the entire things. Or take a drug from a company which hid the fact that it causes heart failure from the FDA or something. You just don't do those things. Do they?

"You'll get over it"

But the biggest mistakes of all involve life and death. You definitely don't want to be on the receiving end of the mistake of crossing when the light is red. Or worse: someone mistakenly attempting to drive through a red light while you're crossing the street. A girl last year was the victim of such a mistake when a bus plowed into her (the best part was a remark from one of the drivers stuck in the resulting traffic: "Just drag her off the road!").

Even God makes mistakes. There is no explanation otherwise for such things as getting lost in the desert for forty years (oh sure, excuse it away as 'punishment') or the appendix (why isn't it in the main body of the book? Why does it need to be stuck on my intestine?). Also, good job on preventing us from seeing in the ultraviolet spectrum, letting those bees have a monopoly on the true colors of flowers.


What's the best remedy for mistakes? The ideal 'world peace' answer would be to admit to them. Let honesty flow from your veins and have the truth cleanse you. Whatever that means. By admitting your dumb idiocy, steps can be taken to fix the horrible mess you've likely made.

People being people, they'll try to fix it without anyone noticing. I'm so guilty of this. It tends to work only when you know what you've done in the first place.

Blame it on someone else! Then your mistake turns into a lie, which is a whole 'nother bag of nasty.

Or, arguably the worst (best for spectators) option is to let it fester and watch the resulting fireworks. If it's small, no one will care. If it's big enough...

Finally, there is one final mistake which I've just committed. I attempted to write a post within ten minutes in order to get it published today (I swear I'll keep up the May madness!!!).


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