I suppose when most people talk about things they regret in life they are big things like not becoming an artist or traveling to the Great Pyramids or quitting a dead end job. Okay, I regret all of those things, but it is some of the little things I regret more. Or at least I roll my eyes about them.
Until it became politically incorrect to portray cultures as mascots, I was proud of being a Boise High School Brave. I was proud of being the band drum major and dressing like an Native American Chief (or an Indian Chief or an Indigenous person Chief). I used to feel so cool donning the leather buckskins and headdress and applying war paint.
But I remember when I showed my daughter photos of me dressed as the Boise Brave, she was pretty disgusted. I was confused at first. Maybe she didn't understand that to us growing up the brave was a proud symbol. A brave was a warrior. A brave was something to look up to. But to her, I was treating a people as a mascot.
I tried the arguments that have been pointed out to me are white people microaggressions, like "No one objects to the Fighting Irish, Vikings, Cowboys, or Mariners." But those are white people cultures (which is ironic because I'm told quite often white people have no culture). Bottom line, to my daughter at least, being the Boise Brave was embarrassing.
So I tucked away the photos, my old moccasins and any other symbol of my misguided past as a Boise Brave and accepted that in high school my only accomplishment was being a band geek and graduating ninth in my class of 491.
Keeping with the high school theme, I also regret my 10-year high school reunion. I regret going, because I had this fantasy that I was going to show up and impress everyone with how successful I was. The thing is, I wasn't that successful. I had graduated from college, moved away from Boise (which was something) and I was working at a job that would eventually devour my soul for more than four decades. But I was determined to show all of the people in my graduating class (who for the most part didn't know who the hell I was) that I had made something of myself.
The reunion was held at the old Idaho State Prison just outside of Boise. And no, the irony has never escaped me (but I do imagine it did the event planners). Let's just say, the reunion passed without me being noticed by anyone but my high school girlfriend (who was married with a kid or two at the time) who got in my face about breaking up with her.
But my biggest regret wasn't just going to the reunion, it was sending in a write up to the reunion organizers recounting what I'd been doing for ten years since high school. They created a small booklet that they mailed to everyone after the reunion. I received it and discovered that most people just wrote a couple of lines about getting married and having kids. My write up took up a page and was an embarrassing year-by-year description of what I'd been up to and hope to be up to (granted I thought I was being funny). In retrospect I sounded stupid and self-absorbed.
I only bring this up because I found the booklet the other day and cringed when I read what I wrote.
On the bright side, it prompted me to write this post and share yet again with the world how exciting a life I have lived.