Whittling a lifetime of bad ideas down to just one, “worst”, seems a Herculean task far beyond the scope of anything short of a tell-all, deathbed autobiography, or perhaps a Sun Records-era Johnny Cash tune. But it is a fair starting point for a throwaway piece of fan writing with which to appease the now hubristically aggrandized Drink Tank team and pad out this here gargantuan 300th issue, so let’s see what I can come up with without actually doing any soul-searching or confessing to shooting that guy at Renovation that one night.
See, if you’re like me, simply bad ideas are a dime a dozen; the Cheap Tequila Incident, the Sake Incident, the Tito’s Mexican Vodka Incident… well, you might sense a theme there. But not all my poor decision making is alcohol-related, I was sober as a judge when I agreed to go to Con-X-Treme, and likewise when I got a perm that one time, luckily for me, before the advent of digital cameras. Stepping on the leash of the cat that bit my ankle and scarred me for life, in order to prevent it running away, well that wasn’t my best notion ever. Come to think of it, walking a cat on a leash was not brilliant either. Running full tilt after the two teenagers that tried to mug me that one time, that might even have rated as worst idea ever, but I stopped before I caught them.
Then there are ideas that are clearly bad but turn out to be awesome in the end like “hey, lets put on a fake convention!”, “hey, lets put on a fake fanzine lounge”, “hey, lets steal some couches!” all of which sounds like bad ideas but turn out to actually be awesome and therefore retroactively become good ideas, although they really don’t hold up to logical scrutiny when described out loud to someone who wasní’ there at the time.
The other thing is, I think, that I am rather fond of bad ideas. My combined senses of irony and fatalism, as well as a somewhat philosophical turn of mind leads me to respond to a truly bad idea with a detached “This oughta go well” most of the time. And irony being what it is, it often does go quite spectacularly well, except for the times when they didn’t, but the fun thing about those is that they quite often make the better stories. A good idea well implemented is fine, I suppose, but a bad idea that spins out of control is so much better to tell. We all relate convention failures, horrible embarrassments and dating disasters with gusto-even to audiences that already know most of the details. But how often can you tell the story of that day that went just right? Success is boring, ultimately, but a good catastrophe is a joy forever, honed and polished in the retelling until you have a 24 karat masterpiece of shiny failure.
So, if you’ll forgive me, I think I will stand beside my bad ideas and their results, the distress and humiliation they may have caused me during the relatively brief period I actually had to experience living through them is far outweighed by their enduring value as laughter and sometimes cringe-inducing stories. And I do love a good story.
The Drink Tank, Issue #300, December 2011