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A Mere Experience

Have you ever wanted to go up to one of your “friends,” tap them on the shoulder, and then say in a stern, slightly combative tone, “Hello [insert name or chosen expletive]. How about you keep my name out of your goddamn mouth?!” Yes folks, today we’re talking about drama.

While I hate having to deal with drama, I know that it’s a part of life. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and everything you do has consequences. People will take things the wrong way. Sometimes we happen to step on people’s toes without realizing it. And other times, we just screw up–plain and simple. We do, or say, something that’s completely out of line, and it ends up being something we must live with. The hope, though, is that since we are all prone to error, others will still be willing to forgive us or at least be understanding of the situation.

I’m a realist. People love to gossip, and sometimes they just like to talk shit for the hell of it. No matter what you do or say, the first seven seconds is all you have to make a first impression. People will paint you however they want to frame you, and if they have an agenda from the get-go, then you are better off trying to stop the movement of the tides.

Being Iranian, my people are the gossip kings. “Did you see how drunk Masoud got at the wedding last night?” Or, “I hate when Sam just thinks he can walk into your party three hours late!” Or even, “Sahel’s son just got into Harvard, what the hell are you doing with your life?!” I, now, have to use column space to clarify that these fairly tame examples are all made up (using my parents’ and brother’s names). Why? Because there is the legitimate concern that my family and their friends would read this and think I’m talking about real people or–God forbid–them. That’s how crazy it can be!

My father once told me an Iranian fable about the philosopher and the scorpion. It’s a play on The Tortoise and the Scorpion fable, and it goes something like this:

One day, the philosopher was sitting near a river bank, when one of his students spots him and decides to come over to talk. As the student is about to sit down, the philosopher gets up and walks over to the river.

Wondering what has caused the philosopher to stand, the student looks over and sees a scorpion. It is struggling to stay on a leaf and vigorously flailing, trying not to drown. The philosopher goes over to the river and carefully grabs the scorpion by the tail. The student sits up, worried that the philosopher is going to get hurt. The scorpion starts flailing more vigorously and tries to sting the philosopher multiple times. The philosopher stays calm and carefully carries the scorpion back onto land and lightly sets it down on the ground. After a few tense moments, the scorpion scurries away.

The student asks the philosopher, “Sir, I know you are so wise, so I am in shock as to why you would do such a reckless thing.” The philosopher smiles and says, “You must understand, it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting. That is what it does. I cannot fault the scorpion for its actions. Nor can I allow the scorpion to dictate my actions, my behavior. For in the end, this is my nature.”

To put it in layman’s terms: Haters are going to hate. That is their nature. You cannot allow them to dictate how you run your life. People will make things up because they have nothing better to do or to say. In the end, you are only accountable for yourself.

There is a reason they call it drama. By the end of it, everyone wants everyone else dead. It’s tempting to gossip–and I would be lying if I said I didn’t. I make mistakes, and I acknowledge them. As a society, the best we can do is to always do our best.

I am no saint, but I strive to live my life surrounded in as much positivity as possible. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. In the words of Andrea Gibson , “I am living today as someone I had not yet become yesterday. And tonight I will borrow only pieces of who I was today to carry with me tomorrow.”

In the end, that’s all we can ever ask for.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.

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