Look, we’ve all done something embarrassing in our lives, right? And I’m not talking about “Oh, God, I just tripped, I hope that hot guy/girl over there didn’t see”-level embarrassment. I mean shame, when you don’t want to look into other people’s faces, when you’re thinking to yourself afterwards, “How? How could I allow myself to do something like this?” We’ve all made big mistakes that have some negative consequences to them, but we’ve learned from them, we’ve grown a little, and we’ve moved on. But there are some mistakes so bad that we never get that chance. I almost made that mistake once
In High School, I was the prototypical slacker. I hated doing anything that required me to get out of my comfort zone. Thus, science classes were the bane of my existence. Anything atom-related turns my brain into mush, rendering me totally incapable of listening to anything. And so it was one day in 10th grade science class, when my equally numb-skulled companion and I were attempting to complete some manner of lab involving blue liquid. After fumbling around unsuccessfully for a half hour, we were engaging in cleanup when my buddy says the immortal line, “Dude. I’ll give you a dollar if you drink that.” Despite everything that reason would dictate, my response was “Dude, a dollar? That‘s it?”
After we’d settled on a proper amount, I acted quickly enough to prevent any type of rational thought from surfacing beforehand, and downed a solid gulp of the stuff. My only immediate sensation was the nasty metallic taste in my mouth, which I did my best to rid myself of. It was only a couple minutes later that the bomb dropped. I had to sit down, and once it was clear to my teacher that all was not well with me, I was hurried outside, where I proceeded to vomit up a couple days’ worth of lunches. You see had I been listening to my instructor, I would have learned that the “blue liquid” I’d consumed was actually silver nitrate, a chemical so hazardous that my own vomit constituted a chemical spill. A Hazmat team was sent to the school to clean up, and I was rushed to the hospital.
By the end of the day, I had purged myself of the offending liquid, and tests had shown that I had avoided any doing any internal damage to myself.
Now I wish I could say that this was a totally isolated incident, but though I’m unlikely to by consuming any hazardous waste anytime soon, I do have a well-documented history of doing things with no real thought or concern to consequences. Things just typically tend to come out my way in the end, but this escapade gives a pretty stark idea of what could happen if one day they don’t. It’s a constant reminder that the quickest bad decision could lead to negative consequences that are life-long. Not to say that I should live my life in fear; only that I need to take more time to weigh the possible outcomes. And though I know I won’t always make the right choices, when I screw up I’ll just have to make the best of it. Because you never know when that second chance isn’t going to come.