Extraneous Thoughts


Extraneous thought not tied to what I set out to write . . . Extraneous Thoughts – I never knew for sure if my mother thought I was a noble person. I know she loved me, even though she was exhausted with me always having to have the last word.


But, did she think of me as one of a noble nature?


For sure once.- ———


I was in sixth grade, my friend who lived across the street was in fifth grade. Each morning we walked to school together.


As I remember it, a heavy rain and floods had washed out the bridge we crossed over on our way to school. To get across, wooden planks had been laid end to end over the empty but muddy bottom of the river bed.


My friend went first. As she arrived at the middle of the river bed, her left foot slipped off the plank and her leg went knee deep into the mud. She pulled her leg up and out. But her shoe remained in the mud hole. She quickly darted across the rest of the river bed reaching the other side with one shoe on and a left leg covered in mud and her foot shoeless and bare.


Without thinking, I stopped at where she had slipped in and got down on my knees, put my arm into the mud hole and pulled her shoe out. As I finished crossing the ditch, I cleaned off Loretta’s shoe on my Levi jeans ( she was wearing a dress), and helped wash the mud off her leg when we got to a drinking fountain.


A day or so after that happened, my friend’s mother told my mother what had occurred. My mother related it to me. I could tell she was proud of me.


Extraneous thought . . . – She told it in a way that made it seem like a small noble act.- ———


On the other hand, I had a dark side. For example, in my senior year of high school our water polo team reached the playoffs. Our first game was against El Segundo High School, the best high school water polo in Southern California.


In the first few minutes of the game I noticed that the guy guarding me had long finger nails. As I tried to swim past him to get closer to the goal so I could score, I felt his left hand push me on my right rib cage and dig his finger nails in. Reflexively, I hit him in the nose and right eye area with my right elbow. His nose started bleeding. A time-out was called, and he had to leave the game to stop the bleeding.


At that point, I became a target of the wrath of his team mates. They roughed me up through out the match, but nothing too serious.


After the match, I saw the guy I hit in the locker room. His eye was swollen up, and starting to turn black and blue. We walked passed each other. I smiled without saying a word. I didn’t say I was sorry. I just smiled.


I should have said something. I didn’t realize until that moment that he was shorter than me. I looked down and saw that his finger nails didn’t seem as long as I had imagined. At that moment, it dawned on me that I had miscalculated the situation. And I suddenly realized there were no scratch marks on my rib cage.


There was nothing right about what I did, or how I reacted afterwards.


Extraneous thought– It was mean spirited, petty, and dark. If that were the only time that happened, I guess I could forgive myself, but it wasn’t. I had over reacted in several situations through out my water polo career, and a time or two beyond that.- ————-


Extraneous thought . . . -Am I noble? Yes, at least once in my mother’s eyes. Am I petty? Yes, at times definitely in my own eyes.


But, In between noble and petty.- ————-


I do what almost all people do. I get up, eat breakfast, shower, dress, and work. The vast majority of my life, I’m just an everyday person.


Extraneous thought . . . -In my everyday routine, do I think much about my nobility and pettiness? I don’t think much about my noble acts. But, yes, I’m tortured by my petty acts. I can’t be forgiven for my pettiness, because they’re done. I can’t undo them.-
I don’t think forgiveness is necessarily the best path for my indiscretions. The best path is living with them and laboring not to be petty. I’m not so sure having feelings of guilt is a bad thing for acts of pettiness. In such instances, guilt is a good thing. At least for me. it keeps me wary and on guard. Yes, I think there’s a seed of pettiness in me. I’ve learned to be ever cautious of it.


Extraneous thought . . . -Do you think people who commit treacherous acts feel bad about what they do? Yes, I believe in their moments alone (everyone spends time in absolute loneliness), I believe they feel terrible about their acts. I certainly hope so. How can life be worth living unless there is remorse? Thank goodness, most of us are merely petty and not treacherous.- —————


Extraneous thought . . .-What is treachery? It’s hurting people irreparably. It’s committing fraud where you rob people of their hard earned riches. It’s also taking the most valuable thing a human has, their life. It’s torturing people physically and mentally. – —————-


Extraneous thought . . .- Treachery must be hunted down and dealt with harshly, even when the person who committed the act feels remorse. – ———-


It’s enough to merely feel guilty over our pettiness. And we should be quick to notice and reward noble acts, even if it’s simply pulling a shoe out of a mud hole.


Extraneous thought . . .- I have these two voices having a dialog in my head. The extraneous thought is according to Freud my super ego. To David Foster Wallace it is the message that never reaches the page but should, no matter how long the message or article gets. To my wife, it is a puzzle. To me, it is the second voice in my head that I have become very disciplined at tuning in to.