A Schmuck With An Underwood

underwood One thing you cannot do is reward yourself for being good by being bad and then expect your life to make any sense.

You can’t reward yourself for not drinking by stopping off for a quick one with the guys after work. You can’t pat yourself on the back for losing 5 pounds by picking up a quart of Rocky Road on the weekend. I mean, obviously you can, because you’re a grown-up and you can do whatever you like. I am not your internet nanny, and my rules only apply to me. But if your life is a story, you don’t want to be erasing with one hand what you’re writing with the other, and then looking back and trying to make sense of all the scribbles and gaps.

A more sensible way to go about things is to pick a path that makes you happy and healthy and find ways to want to be on that path. After a very confused and muddled high school career, I figured this out sometime over the first few years of college, and what it means for me is rewarding myself for doing something I like to do by doing even more of it – which is probably what bulimics, kleptomaniacs and hoarders say about how great they feel when they indulge, so police yourself if you’re one of those. But because what I like to do is write, it means always having a number of writing projects going at the same time, so that if I burn out on one I can turn to another. That’s what I did today. I shifted gears to another project, just for the day, and as part of that project’s research here’s what I learned.

I learned all about general contracting licensing costs and procedures in New York State.

I learned what it takes to get a racing license beyond just the SCCA club license so you could, in theory, become a professional race car driver. I also learned what the medical requirements are and roughly the time and costs for the training, licensing, car, trailer, firesuit, helmets and other gear.

I learned the current cost and availability of a Hummer H2 and a Hummer H2 SUT (in fact I finally learned that the funny Hummer H2 with the truck bed is called an “SUT”).

And, seeing as all this was in service to a character, not to myself, I learned that I can still pound out 12 pages of script in a day when I have an idea worth working on. It was a good day’s work and I can now break out the Rocky Road.


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