Sometimes, I feel like my life is incredibly boring. I do basically the same old things, day after day, many of them mundane and tedious. Doing laundry. Making smoothies. Sweeping the floor. Staring at the dust on the bookcases and wondering why the maid never gets around to cleaning it off.
My excitement comes in the form of starting a new batch of seeds, or yelling at B to take off all his wet clothes after he’s jumped into the little pond while wearing them instead of changing into his swim clothes first.
Sometimes, the UPS delivery person even shows up at our door. Whoopee!
Unlike J, who could go on living out the same routine for the rest of his life, I’m the kind of person that likes to change things up once in a while. So every once in a while I’ll get itchy feet. Develop Greener Grass Syndrome.
I recently read a memoir that may just have cured me of that. For a few days, anyway. We’ll see.
The memoir is entitled Gringo: My Life On The Edge As A National Fugitive, told by the former fugitive, Dan Davis, to a writer named Peter Conti. In a summary that does not even begin to do the book justice, everything you’ve ever read about in thriller novels, or seen on T.V. or in movies, regarding drug cartels and guerilla violence in South America is true. The memoir also reveals other things that might make your stomach turn. In short, the storyteller, Dan led an exciting life for fifteen years.
Looking for thrills in all the wrong places
He never says as much, but Dan is one of those dudes who needs a constant adrenaline rush. He started racing horses as a teenager, then started businesses trafficking various kinds of drugs, mostly illegal. He himself wasn’t addicted; he wanted the money. And boy, did he make lots of it!
Along the way he spent two years in prison (right after the only child he ever had was born, who died from SIDS a few months later), went through a terrible divorce, got into running marijuana, got married again, then got accused for a crime he didn’t commit and had to flee or face thirty years in prison. Good-bye, Wife #2.
Throughout the book you can feel his insistence that his life went haywire, thanks to the unfair U.S. “justice” system. I don’t want to judge him. And I certainly don’t believe in punishing people for crimes they didn’t commit. But like Jim Rohn once said, you are the average of the five people closest to you. Who you hang out with matters. Not to mention the choices you make.
The fact of the matter is, if Dan had found legitimate opportunities to make money when he was young, if he had stayed away from drug dealers and bosses, he would never have ended up where he is now. In prison.
Your choices always bring consequences, some of which you don’t experience for a long time. They may seem unfair, even cruel, but you usually have nothing to blame but your own choices.
On the other hand…
How the U.S. government ended up handling him when they finally found him again was uncalled for and morally wrong. And scary.
I’m not going to give details here, in case someone wants to read the memoir. But, yeah, it’s like my grandpa used to quip, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Shoot. I can only hope that that kind of crap is doled out only to people with a criminal record. Still, to completely destroy a man’s life because he ran away from being punished for a crime he didn’t commit? To take away everything? Especially after he’d led a clean life (legally, anyway, if not morally) in the interim?
Not okay. The government may have the power to do this, but it doesn’t have the right.
Sorry. I digress. But I needed to say it.
All that to say…
I’ll take boring, thank you very much
My marriage is stable. Our financial situation is good. We are all healthy. We have no enemies (that we know of).
We do not live in an area where businessmen are assassinated every day on the streets by the drug cartel. Or where wealthy people are often kidnapped solely to make their friends and family cough up ransoms.
And where rickety public buses make stops in the middle of nowhere for women passengers to give birth in the ditch. To twins.
We have no criminal record, and so don’t have to spend our lives looking over our shoulders.
We are, in essence, comfortable. And that gets boring sometimes. But, you know what? I think I’ll take boring over a life filled with uncertainty, stress, and always having to look over my shoulder.