The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pain, the Great Educator!

I saw something on the TV a few years ago about a 2 year old girl that was born without a pain impulse. I lost the specifics, but less than a dozen kids suffer from this affliction. Pain exists as a universal instinctual teacher, it means the same thing species wide “don’t do that.” Without this simple chemical electrical impulse, this girl was lost. She had to wear swimming goggles to keep her fingers out of her eyes. At that tender age she was about to lose an eye to glaucoma. She had to constantly be guided when she walked to keep from slamming into the nearest wall. She had even ground away her baby teeth. It was heartbreaking stuff, but looking at this girl it got me thinking about the role of pain in human life.

We as humans have the “gift” to intellectualize our pain. We make the conscious effort to recognize and “get in touch” with our pain. We can attempt to anesthetize our selves from it with all sorts of ultimately harmful activities that generate more pain from things like hangovers and regret. We can use it to judge a job well done when we “feel the burn”. How many other animals use pain for sexual satisfaction? Not me, mind you, but if you’ve gotten this far on the internet, you’re probably familiar with the concept.

I mentioned in my recent post “Childrearing Tips From A Childless Bachelor”, we don’t learn anything unless we get real consequences from our actions and that is quite often pain, both physical and mental, though one quite often feels like (and can cause) the other.

I have a few friends that are either parents or guardians of kids that are reaching that challenging teen-age where their newfound desire for adult-style independence turns them into people that they can’t recognize. It’s a age old problem, we get the desire and ability to do things long before we get the wisdom to do them correctly: dating, drinking, money, drugs, sex, the list goes on and on. And when we finally get the wisdom (if we get it, I’m still working on some of these myself) the people who could benefit from it most, the kids, could not be less interested in what you have to say.

There was nobody that was fuller of the teenage “I know everything”s than yours truly(actual quote of your pal at 15: ”I figured out the the truth, and I don’t like it.”) and no amount of my dad’s “you’re full of shit”s were going to steer me in the right direction, pain had to steer me from running into the metaphorical walls of life.

This kind of learning is a life long kind of thing, in some ways it’s worse when you’ve grown up because instead of wanting to be treated as an adult, you are one. We try to help our parents from it, but since they raised us, they can only take you so seriously. With friends and (other) family they know too much about you to not use that knowledge against you if they want to. They will take the wrong job, date the wrong person or smoke as much crack as they’re going to. The disease of humility-deficiency and denial know no boundary, we’ve all thought we were too smart to be fooled by something and we’ve all been wrong.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to give your kids, friends and family advice, far from it, just realize that some of the most important lessons are going to be taught by pain instead of you. Just do the best you can and be there to still love them after they learn “the hard way”.

And at least try to avoid saying,”I told you so!”

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