*Update* So I just finished the rough draft of my newest book (still yet to be named) and am about to start really trying to dig in to opening this publishing company (more on that later) but I don’t want to stop writing completely. So I decided to write 40,000 – A Rough Draft. Once a week I am going to take an hour and a half and write a thousand word short story. One hour will be spent writing 1,000 words, and thirty minutes will be spent editing, then, poof a new addition. This will take forty weeks (unless I feel like writing more one week, but forty ideally) and then I will be publishing it as an ebook to give away for free!
Now while reading I will ask you to understand these are just rough drafts so please ignore all line editing issues (or don’t) and just read for the story. I think it’s going to be a fun project to make sure on busy weeks I get at least some writing done if I can’t be working on something else, and if it gives someone an idea or you find a story you really like, well that sounds like a win to me. So below is the first of forty, hope you enjoy. *Update*
A Smart Man
Word Count: 997
Writing: 1 hr
Editing: 30 min
Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
In life, many opportunities will present themselves. Many will show their faces to you over, and over, and over. My father told me that what makes a man smart, successful, is knowing when to grab hold of these opportunities, and when to let them drift by in the winds of time. I used to think I was a smart man.
My father left us not long after he explained the difference between intelligence and stupidity, winning a losing. It always led me to believe that we were his failure, I thought he was a smart man. I lived with this failure for many years, weighing me down a bit more with each passing day. It almost won. Almost took me to it's loser grave to moan and whine with all of the other stupid men in the world. That's when I thought, what if...? What if my father wasn't so smart? Could he have been a stupid man himself?
Freedom. I felt light when the thought crossed my mind and I blindly accepted it, elated with the new found possibilities that life had to offer. The possibilities that only a smart man can obtain, held just out of reach from the pitiful losers below. Earth itself became brighter, the colors seemed to radiate as I walked through my life.
Things moved quickly after that. Now that I was smart I had a deep yearning to not only be successful, but to be the most successful. I attacked knowledge with every particle of energy in my body, determined to make every secret mine. Soon I was a high school graduate, then came the bachelors, masters, and before I knew it I was a Doctor.
Where are the wife and kids? People would ask me regularly at the few functions I attended. No wife and kids yet, I would reply in jest. Though I knew yet meant never for me. There simply was not enough time to be a smart man and raise a family. Or so I thought.
Life continued to speed by. As it did I reveled more and more in my achievements and knew I had made the right decisions. Each and every opportunity carefully considered and selected to act as a stepping stone to my next success. It was perfect, I was winning.
I was ahead of the curve in every way. I began inventing and have contributed to some of the largest medical breakthroughs of the last hundred years. What a life of great opportunities, stacking up and locking together like Lego's, to build what could only be viewed as the life of a smart man.
Yet, now here I sit, writing this letter with nothing in my mind but doubt, fear, regret. I am old now, too old to change my ways. Too old to improve. I am no success at all and quite possibly one of the stupidest men I have ever known. I thought I had it all worked out, but I couldn't have been more wrong.
And why? Why have these thoughts entered my mind now, when I am so close to the end. When I was so close to going out like a winner, like a genius. Well, it's quite obviously your fault, or maybe I just got tired. Age will do that, and it will do it fast. Before you know it you're so tired you're dead. Or maybe that's just the way it feels for stupid men.
With all my soul I wish I had never met you. I wish that I had come down with the flu, or even been in a car accident on the way. Anything that would have prevented me from making it onto the flight. Making to the seat next to yours.
I thought I had it all figured out, all of these years. I have worked hard to learn the secrets of life, and until now thought I owned the all. Now it seems I have missed the most important lessons the entire way. Missed the things that stared me directly in the face at every turn. Grabbed the wrong opportunities. But I suppose someone has to, the world needs stupid men like me.
I remember the way your silver hair glinted in the yellow light, reflecting a dazzling halo on the ceiling. Your scent, just strong enough to smell, yet not too strong so as to bother my nose during the flight. It was your eyes though. That's what started it, all of this. They were so young, so alive though the body outside was like mine, tired and wrinkled.
I typically don't enjoy speaking with people on my flights. But you were different. Your voice was light but heavy with the knowledge of a fulfilled life. You told me stories of your family, they sound delightful. I could feel the warmth that you carried inside spreading to me the more you spoke. It's when I knew, and how I know now, that I was wrong.
So many years, wasted. All the time spent wrong. How had I been so stupid? For all that I have learned and accomplished none of it meant anything at all it seemed. Certainly I have left behind a legacy but is it the legacy of a smart and successful man? Surely not.
I know you will probably never read this but it had to be written. I couldn't just go without telling the world why a stupid man like me is no longer necessary. And now I think back to all those years ago, when my father taught me the lesson that changed my life. I listened to him but didn't pay attention. I fought so hard to be successful, I missed the real meaning. Being a champ had nothing to do with the words he spoke, he showed me how to win when he left. I simply didn't realize it then. Like I said, I used to think I was a smart man.