27 July 2010


"Oh, you should be brave," people frequently say. "You regret the things you didn't do, not the things you did do." Well, in my opinion, after a great deal of experience and experimentation, bravery is over-rated. So is not regretting. Or rather, you do, in fact, regret the things you did do.

If I had never told Mr. Heaven I wanted to kiss him, if I had never asked him over for biscuits, if I had never gone up to him at Hallowe'en, I never would have had all that sorrow and trouble over him. More to the point, if I'd never done any of those things, I would have been able to spend the rest of my life thinking, Maybe Mr. Heaven did want me, tee hee, instead of having to think, Mr. Heaven made me unhappy (and, incidentally, apparently didn't want me). If I had never approached Mr. Fallen at that conference, I would have been full of wrath that a member of my department got to go out with a graduate student while I got nothing (which is how the whole thing started), and I probably would have been a lot more sexually frustrated, but I also would not have got my heart broken, and I'm going to have to say that THAT would be sufficient balance for sexual frustration.

My conclusion, therefore, is that I intend to spend the next year of my life, at least, being a lot less brave. As far as I can discern, most people are not brave, and they live pretty happy lives. Sure, if you're brave you can find enormous happiness - maybe enormouser than the happiness of all those non-brave people - but you can also get your teeth kicked in by a German engineer and your heart broken by a Blake scholar of indifferent skill. So I think I'll let someone else be brave, while I enjoy my more cowardly, unwounded life.

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