Monday, April 07, 2014


Crapshoot: noun. A risky or uncertain matter. See also: Life

Okay, so I added that last part, but it’s true. Every single action we take or decision we make is a roll of the cosmic dice which determines and alters the course of the rest of our lives. Most of the changes are like tiny ripples on the surface of our lives, but some.…

The instances and effects of significant life-changing decisions or actions…the majority of them totally spontaneous…are mind boggling. If, when I was five years old, I had not jumped down a small embankment to watch a passing train, the little girl who, not seeing me there, also jumped down the embankment, landing on and breaking my leg, would I have been so acutely aware for the rest of my life of not doing things or taking risks that might cause me physical harm?

If, at around age seven, I had not gone to a birthday party at which the mother of the guest of honor insisted the guests pair up, boy-girl, and dance, would I forever since have been so aware of my lack of physical grace and subsequently refused to do anything that might demonstrate that fact?

If, while flying in formation on a night training flight while in the NavCads, I had noticed the miscalculation of my airspeed and how quickly the lights of the plane ahead of me were coming closer, ten seconds later than I did—giving me time to push the nose of my plane down and passing less than 10 feet under the belly of the plane ahead—there would have been a midair collision in which I and possibly the other pilot surely would have died.

If I had told my mother’s doctor “it’s time to stop trying to save her” when he, she, and I knew it was hopeless, rather than clinging desperately to the hope that maybe some new approach might make a difference, I could have saved her untold suffering and spared myself the guilt and regret that haunt me to this day.

If I had not decided to leave Los Angeles for Pence, Wisconsin to start a Bed and Breakfast in an attempt to “save” my partner, Ray, from the temptations of alcoholism—which destroyed him despite all my efforts—I would not have set off a chain reaction of events which graced my life with several close friends who I first met as guests at the B&B—through one of whom I subsequently met my best friend Gary.

If I had not been…um…intimate…with a bisexual young man a mutual friend had convinced me to let stay at my home to help me with various projects, I would not have been exposed to the HPV virus (Human Papilloma Virus) which caused the tongue cancer which was the equivalent of a 9.0 earthquake to the structure of my life.

And these are just a very, very few examples of the crapshoot of my life: what about yours? I hope you might take a moment to look back over your own life and pick out those instants, those actions, those decisions that sent your life off on a different path than you assumed it was pursuing. 

We are totally powerless to avoid this eternal crapshoot, since it is part of life itself. And once the dice land, whatever happened or whatever we did to alter the course of our future cannot be changed, and we must live with it. The only thing we can do is perhaps take a moment to consider our actions or our decisions before we implement them.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

If, just before college, I'd decided not to travel to Germany for 6 weeks, I might never have had the desire to travel to Hong Kong, Japan, or England years later.

If, after feeling like my life was crumbling, I hadn't decided to tell my best friend I was gay, I might not have married him 17 years later.

If, because we tend to run from the word, I hadn't hated being told 'no', I never would have grown a set and done exactly what I was told I couldn't, thereby beating the odds anyway.

If, since we're told to sit there and be quiet, I hadn't e-mailed you many years back and asked you what I did, we wouldn't be conversing today.

I have my regrets in life, but the crapshoots I regret most are the ones I never take.