During the summer that I was 23, I learned a very important life lesson. A good friend and I spent that summer on a cross country road trip. When we were in Houston, we happened upon a Gay Pride Parade. I’d never been to a Gay Pride Parade before and who doesn’t love parades?! So, we were standing along the street, catching beads and enjoying the spectacle as I notice a section along the curb where no one was standing. Well, being a short person, I hate standing behind people at events, so I took immediate advantage of the open spot on the curbside grass. In less than 2 minutes I was slapping at my feet, ankles and calves while being introduced to another first for me. Red fire ants. They were all over my legs. Because Dumbass stood right on the ant mound. The ant mound that everyone else knew to avoid. Thus, the open spot at the curb. Those welts took months to heal and disappear fully!
These days, the Fire Ant Theory frequently manifests its practical teachings via the subway. If you luck into an empty car or a bunch of empty seats during rush hour, it’s very likely not the good luck you think it is. The car either has no functioning air conditioning or there is an odoriferous individual occupying a seat nearby. One empty seat on which no one chooses to sit? There is probably something messy on the seat, so check veeeerrryy carefully before sitting.
Sure there’s good luck and fortuitous events that can happen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating pessimism as a viewpoint. Being in the right place at the right time can certainly happen. But… you’re more likely to throw away hundreds upon thousands of dollars than ever win that weekly lottery that you play. Will I achieve fame and fortune and best-selling profits by ignoring all editing advice and choosing to self-publish? Yeah- probably not so much. My brilliant idea for my first novel is probably not as brilliant as I think it is and will definitely benefit from expert advice and critique. I prefer to employ the oh-so-painfully learned Fire Ant Theory and avoid the welts, smelly people, transferred messes on the ass of my pants and hasty, uneducated decisions. I look very closely before I jump on, sit, or grab that amazing thing that everyone else in the world has somehow managed to magically miss. ‘Cause they didn’t miss it. They saw the ant mound that I, in my youthful ignorance and arrogance, blithely ignored.
Fire Ants: Lesson learned.